Sida cordifolia or Country mallow is known as Bala in Ayurveda. The word Bala refers to strength. This herb is used to increase strength of body. Bala is an ancient Ayurveda herb, used widely in a variety of Ayurveda medicines and oils to improve strength of bones, muscles and joints. Its botanical name is Sida cordifolia, of Malvaceae family. Some use Sida retusa also in the name of Bala.
Table of Contents
Vernacular names, Sanskrit synonyms
Names in different languages:
English name – Country mallow
Hindi name – khirainti, Bariyara
Telugu name – Chittamutti, Mattavapulagam, Tela Antis
Malayalam name – kurunthotti – കുറുന്തോട്ടി
Tamil name – Kurunthotti, Paniyar Tuttul, Paniyar Tutti
Kannada name – Hettuti
Punjabi name – Kharayati
Synonyms: Vatyalika, Vatya, Vatyayani, Vatyapushpi, Bhadraudani.
Sanskrit synonyms: Vatya, Vatyalika, Vatyapushpi, Vatyayani, Bhadraudani, Samanga, Kharayashtika, Mahasamanga, Audanika,
Sida cordifolia is an erect shrub. The whole plant is covered with soft white hair. The stem are yellowish green. Roots are strong. Leaves are heart shape, margins are serrated. Flowers are yellow in color and solitary. Fruits are moon shaped. Seeds are smooth and greyish black in color.
Charaka Samhita –
Brihmaneeya (group of herbs used to improve strength and nourishment. )
Prajasthapana – Fetus health promoting group of herbs
Madhuraskanda – group of sweet taste herbs.
Group of herbs used in Asthapana Basti (Decoction enema)
Sushruta Sahmita – Vatasamshana – group of herbs used to balance Vata.
It contains Ephedrine, hypaphorine, vasicinone, choline, betaine, phytosterol etc.
The roots are a very well known source of Beta sitosterols and well known for its Immuno-modulatory effects.
Many species of Sida are taken as sources for bala across the country. In Kerala usually Sida rhombifolia Linn. Var. retusa is a commonly accepted source. Even Sida acuta, is used as a substitute (or adulterated) for S. retusa. Rheede’s Hortus malabaricus mentions Sida rhombifolia Linn. ssp. retusa to be the source of Bala in Kerala. In northern parts of India the accepted source is Sida cordifolia.
Medicinal qualities, Uses
Taste – Madhura – sweet
Guna (qualities) –guru (heavy to digest), snigdha (unctuousness, oiliness), Picchila (sticky)
Vipaka – taste conversion after digestion – madhura (sweet)
Veerya – Cold potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances all the three Doshas, especially Vata.
Bala – Country mallow uses:
Snigdha (unctuous, oiliness)
Hima – Cold
svadu – sweet in taste
Vrushya – natural aphrodisiac
Balya – tonic, improves strength
Tridoshanut – balances Tridosha – vata, Pitta and kapha
Raktapittahara – relieves bleeding disorders
Kshayahara – Relieves emaciation
Ojovardhaka – improves immunity
Sheetala – Coolant
Grahi – absorbent
Kantivardhaka – improves skin texture and glow
Vatasrahara – Relieves gout
Kshatahara – useful in injuries
Pitta Atisaranashani – relieves diarrhoea of Pitta origin.
Its paste is prepared with water and applied externally to relieve joint pain, headache and inflammation.
बला सांग्राहिक बल्य वातहराणाम् – च. सू. २५
Of all the herbs having absorbent, strength promoting and Vata pacifying actions, Bala is the best.
Part used, Dose
Part used: Root
Dose: juice extract – 10 – 20 ml, in divided dose per day.
Powder – 3 – 6 grams in divided dose per day.
Decoction – Kashaya – 50 -100 ml in divided doses per day.
This herb is banned in USA due to a very small content of ephedrine in it. Because ephedrine is associated with high blood pressure, heart attack, muscle disorders etc, US FDA attributes all those side effects to this herb.
But it is just a myth. The ephedrine content in country mallow is very very low to bring about any such side effects even in a dose of 6 grams of this herb in a day.
It is safe to use during lactation and in children. Seek medical advice for its use during pregnancy.
Interaction with medicines, supplements
Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.
this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets,
Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.
Important Ayurvedic formulations
Question: I read about Sugandha bala(Pavanonia odorata) oil and Bala(Sida Cordifolia) as vata pacifier and to strengthens joints. I want to know whether Bala is heated up in some base oil(sesame or coconut) with aromatic ingredients and is called Sugandha bala?
Answer: Sugandha Bala is entirely different herb than Bala. To prepare bala oil, bala root is processed (often along with milk) in sesame oil base.
Patanjali Bala Churan – manufactured by Patanjali Ayurved Limited.
Kingdom – Plantae
Division – Angiospermae
Class – Eudicots
Order – Malvales
Family – Malvaceae
Genus – Sida
Species – S. cordifolia