Punarnava – Boerhavia diffusa is one of the very important anti inflammatory medicinal herbs. It is well known for its diuretic and swelling reducing activities.
Botanical Name- Boerhavia diffusa Linn. (Boerhavia repens Linn). It is also sometimes written as Berhaavia diffusa.
By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD
Few simple remedies and their health benefits are mentioned here below-
Dysuria, pedal oedema
1. Punarnava root decoction in dysuria, pedal oedema and urinary obstruction:
The roots of Punarnava(15-20 gram) is taken and decoction is made. This is consumed in the dose of 30-40 ml twice or thrice a day. This is effective in the conditions like dysuria and urinary obstruction.
General method of decoction preparation is –
1 tablespoon (10 grams) of coarse powder of the herb is added with 2 cups of water. Boiled in open air till the total content is reduced to 1 cup. This is filtered and used.
2. Punarnava whole plant juice with a pinch of baking soda in distention of abdomen and burping:
Fresh juice is obtained from the whole plant of Punarnava. This is taken internally in the dose of 20-30 ml by adding a pinch of Baking soda. This is effective in abdominal distention and in acid belching and burping.
3. Punarnava seeds decoction for urinary calculi:
Fine powder (1-2 gram) of Punarnava seeds or its decoction (30-40 ml) is taken regularly for a period of 10-12 days. This helps to flush out the urinary calculi of 5-8 mm size.
4. Punarnava, Tribulus, Coriander hot infusion for recurrent UTI :
Punarnava, Tribulus and coriander are taken in equal quantities. Decoction or hot infusion is prepared. This is administered twice or thrice daily. It is very effective against the burning urination, dysuria and in urinary tract infections.
5. Fine paste of the leaves in swelling of eyes:
Freshly obtained leaves are made into fine paste and applied over closed eyes. This brings cooling effect and hence relieves swelling of the eyes.
6. Fresh leaf juice instillation to the eyes in conjunctivitis:
2-3 drops of fresh juice of the plant is instilled as eye drops. This is very effective against the conjunctivitis and for purulent discharges of the eyes.
7. Poultice of whole plants in pedal oedema:
Whole plant is made into fine paste and warmed a little. This is applied to the extremities where the swelling is found. Regular application reduces the swelling of the body parts.
Urinary calculi, dysuria
8. Fine paste with tender coconut water in urinary calculi, biliary stones and dysurea:
Fresh drug is taken and fine paste is made. 1-2 gram of this paste is taken along with a cup of tender coconut water; or else this paste is mixed with tender coconut water and kept for a while. Thereafter it is filtered and used for drinking. This has very good effect in UTI, urinary calculi, burning during urination, biliary stones and in menopausal syndromes.
9. Root with rice washed water in leucorrhoea and amenorrhea:
The root or whole plant is made into fine powder. This is taken in the dose of 1-2 gram along with rice washed water or rice gruel (super-natant part of red rice/boiled rice gruel). It is a natural and safe and effective haemetenic and effective in leucorrhoea and amenorrhea.
10. Hot infusion or decoction of Punarnava and Bhumyamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri) in jaundice:
The hot infusion or decoction is made and administered in the dose of 30-40 ml twice daily in adults. In children the dose can be restricted to 20 ml. This is effective in obstructive jaundice. It acts as cholegogue (pittasaraka) also.
In many part of the country this is used as a vegetable also. This is very beneficial to those who are suffering from heart diseases and anemia. However there is need to popularize this herb as a vegetable. Such a move will help the sufferers who are in search of new varieties (changes) in their diet, tailor made for their disease.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD
Telugu Name- Atikamamidi
Common name – English Name- Spreading Hogweed, Red Hogweed, horse purslane, pigweed, Red spiderling, Tarvine
Tamil Name- Mukaratte- Kirai
Punjabi Name- Itsit
Marathi Name- Ghetuli
Assamese name – pananua
Bengali name punarnova
Chinese name: huang xi xin
French name (Fr. Guiana): ipecacuanha de Cayenne
Gujarati name: satodi
Hindi name: gadha-cand, Gadahpurna, Gadah bindo
Kannada name: komme
Konkani name: punarnava
Malayalam name: talutama, tavilama, thazhuthama
Marathi name: ghetoli, ghetula, punarnava, vasu
Nepalese name: punarnava
Portuguese name (Brazil): agarra-pinto, celidônia, pega-pinto
Spanish name: hierba de cabro
Tamil name: mukkurttaikkoti, Mukaratee-Kirei
Telugu name: atakamamidi, punar-nava
Urdu name: tukhm-i-ispast
(white variety is known as Horse Purslane in English and Gulijeru in Telugu)
Photo courtesy: Sheji Ramkumar
Punarnava, Punarbhu – Punar means again Nava, means new. The plant dies off in a year and with the same root, next year, it regrows. Hence the name. Also, Punarnava is an excellent anti ageing herb. It makes the body new again, so the name Punarnava.
Katilla, Kathillaka, Shilatika, Varhsabhu, Jatila, Shivatika, Vruscheera,
Shophaghni, Shothaghni – Useful in relieving inflammation, swelling etc.
Vayahsthapana – anti ageing group of herbs
Kasahara – group of herbs useful against cough
Anuvasanopaga – Group of herbs useful in oil enema
Svedopaga – useful in sweating treatment
Punarnava – Hogweed – Different varieties
Two types of Punarnava are explained.
Shweta – white variety (based on colour of stem and flower) – also known as Varshabhu – Trianthema portulacastrum Linn (AIZOACEAE)
Rakta – red variety (based on colour of stem and flower)- Boerhaavia diffusa.
In Raja nighantu another variety “Nila Punarnava” – Blue variety, is also described.
The plant is available in two forms white and black (red). The second one is more effective in clinical field.
It is found in many places of Africa, North and South America, Myanmar, China and India.
Boerhavia diffusa Chemical Constituents
Hentriacontane, B-sitosterol, Oxalicacid, D- glucose, Punarnavoside, Punarnavine-1, Punarnavine-2 Boeravinones A,B,C etc
T. Portulacastrum- Trianthemine and ecdysterone.
It also contains two rotenoids – Boeravinones G and H
b-Sitosterol, a-2-sitosterol, palmitic acid, ester of b-sitosterol, tetracosanoic, hexacosonoic, stearic, arachidic acid, urosilic acid, Hentriacontane, b-Ecdysone, triacontanol
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna Vijnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry) (1)
The herb contains beta-sitosterol, alpha-2-sitosterol, palmitic acid, arachidic acid, hentriacontane, ursolic acid, hypoxanthine-9-arabinofuranoside, two retinoids- boeravinone A, B, C, D, E & F, two new retinoids- repenone & repenol, bothavine etc. The main constituents are Punarnav Side (antifibrinolytic glycoside), boeravinone A-E, lignans, flavones, sterols, boeravinone and hypoxanthine-9-L-arabinofuranoside. They have anti imnflammatory, analagesic and rejuvinative properties.
Punarnava medicinal Properties
Rasa (taste) – Madhura (sweet), Tikta (bitter), Kashaya (astringent)
Guna (qualities)- Laghu (lightness), Rooksha (dryness)
Vipaka- Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Veerya- Ushna – Hot potency
Effect on Tridosha
Balances Kapha and Vata Dosha.
Bhavaprakasha – Rakta Punarnava as Sheeta Veerya -coolant
Part used, dosage
Part Used- Whole plant, root, and leaf
Dosage- fresh Juice 5-10 ml, powder 1-3 g. Decoction (Kashaya) – 50 – 100ml in divided doses per day.
Rakta Punarnava uses
Rakta Punarnava – Boerhaavia diffusa medicinal uses:
Shotha Nashana, Shophahara – Reduces swelling, anti inflammatory
Panduhara – Useful in anemia, early stage of liver disorders
Hrudrogajit – Useful in cardiac disorders.
Punarnava is an excellent diuretic. In cases of high blood pressure requiring diuretic action, punarnava is used.
Kasanut – useful in cough and cold
Kaphapaha – relieves sputum
Urakshata – useful in chest injury
Shulanut – useful in relieving pain, abdominal colic.
Raktapradaradoshaghna – Useful in heavy periods, menorrhagia
Kshara – slightly alkaline in nature, scraping, cutting qualities
Deepani – improves digestion strength
Ruchya – improves taste, useful in anorexia
Arsha – useful in Hemorrhoids
Vranahara – speeds up wound healing
Udarahara – Useful in ascites
Gara Visha – Useful in chronic toxic conditions
Because of its diuretic action, it can be used in relieving urine retention, where structural anomaly is not the cause for the retention.
It is also quite useful in relieving water retention as in case of adverse effects of long term use of steroids.
Its seeds are used for the purpose of aphrodisiac treatment.
Its root decoction (Kashaya) is used in treating snake bites, rat bites etc.
Shweta Punarnava uses
Varshabhu – Shweta Punarnava – White variety – Trianthema portulacastrum Linn
Ushna – hot
Tikta – bitter
Kaphahara – relieves sputum
Most of the qualities are quite similar to the red variety.
Raja Nighantu has explained about Neela Punarnava (blue varient) with almost similar qualities and usage)
Boerhavia side effects
Because it acts as diuretic, it needs to be used with caution in patients with high BP and kidney disorders.
Safe to use during lactation period and in children. Medical supervision is required during pregnancy, to use it.
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.
Ayurveda medicines with Punarnava Ingredient:
Punarnava Mandur Tablets – A very famous Iron based tablet with Punarnava as main ingredient, used in the treatment of Anaemia, splenomegaly, piles, fever etc, it is especially used in children.
Punarnavadi Guggulu – used in the treatment of gout, sciatica, low back ache etc.
Narayan Oil – used in the treatment of many neuro- muscular and skeleto-muscular conditions, such as arthritis, neuralgia.
Sukumaram kashayam – Useful in constipation, menstrual pain
Amritaprasha Ghrita – Used for the treatment of burning sensation, fever, bleeding disorders, cough, etc.