Easy Ayurveda Video Classes

Punarnava Boerhavia diffusa Benefits, Dose, Side Effects

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.
Family- NYCTAGINACEAE (Punarnava kula)

Home remedies

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) are taken and decoction is made. This is consumed in the dose of 30-40 ml twice or thrice a day. This is effective in 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.

Abdominal distension

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.

Urinary calculi

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.

Recurrent UTI

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 burning urination, dysuria and in urinary tract infections.

Eye swelling

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 a 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 conjunctivitis and for purulent discharges of the eyes.

Pedal oedema

7. Poultice of whole plants in pedal edema:
Whole plant is made into a 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 drugs are taken and fine paste is made. 1-2 grams 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 a very good effect in UTI, urinary calculi, burning during urination, biliary stones and in menopausal syndromes.

Leucorrhoea, Amenorrhoea

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 grams along with rice washed water or rice gruel (supernatant part of red rice/boiled rice gruel). It is a natural and safe and effective haematinic 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 parts of the country this is also used as a vegetable. This is very beneficial to those who are suffering from heart diseases and anemia. However there is a 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

Vernacular Names

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)

Boerhavia diffusa

Photo courtesy: Sheji Ramkumar

Boearhavia diffusa leaf

Sanskrit Synonyms

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 aging 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.

Classical Categorisation

Charaka –
Vayahsthapana – anti aging group of herbs
Kasahara – group of herbs useful against cough
Anuvasanopaga – Group of herbs useful in oil enema
Svedopaga – useful in sweating treatment
Sushruta-Vidarigandhadi Gana

Boerhavia diffusa flower

Varieties, distribution

Punarnava – Hogweed – Different varieties
Two types of Punarnava are explained.
Shweta – white variety (based on color of stem and flower) – also known as Varshabhu – Trianthema portulacastrum Linn (AIZOACEAE)
Rakta – red variety (based on color 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 the clinical field.

It is found in many places of Africa, North and South America, Myanmar, China and India.


Annual herb

Stem- Prostrate or ascending glabrous stem with distinct swollen nodes, stem is diffusely branched.

Leaves- Opposite, unequal, exstipulate, simple, ovate with rounded or cordate base, margin is entire, apex is obtuse, dorsal surface is green and lower surface is silvery white in color.

Inflorescence- Flowers crowded in heads at the end of long slender stalks forming terminal panicles.

Flowers-Bracteate, small, minute, red in color, perianth lobes are 5, pink in color, gamophyllous, stamens are 2 to 3 in number,

Fruit- A clavate and 5-ribbed achene.

Chemical constituents

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 inflammatory, analgesic and regenerative properties.

Medicinal 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.

Sanskrit verse

Boerhavia diffusa medicinal uses
Punarnava Uses

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.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
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.


A quinolone alkaloid, lunamarine, isolated from Spreading hogweed has shown some in vitro anticancer activity.
Anti-microbial properties
Phytochemical screening

Ayurveda medicines

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 Oilused in the treatment of many neuro- muscular and skeletal-muscular conditions, such as arthritis, neuralgia.
Sukumaram kashayamUseful in constipation, menstrual pain
Amritaprasha GhritaUsed for the treatment of burning sensation, fever, bleeding disorders, cough, etc.

Sthanika Karma (Systemic Action)

External Application – Punarnava cures edema and has a scraping action on the body. In edematous conditions, punarnava can be used for sweating treatment, poultice, as a paste form, or even as oil prepared out of it, which is also beneficial for external application. Its juice is indicated in eye disorders.”
Internal administration-
Digestive system – Carminative, Facilitate movement of doshas in normal direction, induce purgation. overdose can cause vomiting. Indicated in Indigestion, Ascites, constipation etc.
Circulatory System – Cardiac stimulant, stimulates RBC production. Highly beneficial in edema, Anemia, Heart diseases etc.
Respiratory system – indicated in cough, breathing disorders, chest injury etc.
Reproductive system –Seed is Aphrodisiac. In menorrhagia root of the red variety of punarnava is beneficial.
Excretory system – It is indicated in Dysuria, UTI etc. Helps to increase urine output
Tapakrama – Indicated in fever (chaturthaka jvara / quaternary type of fever)
Tvak – Indicated in skin disorders
Satmikarana – Ant poisonous and Rejuvinative. indicated in Animal poisoning. 

Easy Ayurveda Video Classes

Buy Online Video Courses

Buy Easy Ayurveda Books



Subscribe To
Easy Ayurveda

Email Newsletter (Free) 




Scroll to Top

Subscribe to free newsletter

error: Alert: Content is protected !!