Balloon Vine: Cardiospermum halicacabum: Uses, Research, Remedies

Karnasphota (Balloon vine) – Cardiospermum halicacabum is a plant mentioned for the treatment of poisonous cases, constipation, fever, burning micturition, joint pain, alopecia and as memory booster. 

Latin name- Cardiospermum halicacabum Linn.
Family- Sapindaceae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name: Bari-chirmi, Chirputa, Kanphuta, Kapalphoti
English name: Balloon wine, Winter Cherry, Heart seed, Smooth leaved Heart Pea
Arabic name: Habb-ul-kalkal
Kannada name: Agnibali, Bekkina taradu balli, Eruva balli, Kaadathege
Malayalam name: Katabhi, Palloolavum, Ulinja, Ulinna.
Marathi name: Kaanphodi, Kanfuti.
Tamil name: Mudakatthaan, Cancivimeti, Camuttiratoyam, Cevikottiyal, Mudakatraan, Varutakakkoti
Telugu name: Allena, Budda gudichi, Ekkuduthige

Sanskrit synonyms

Balloon wine Sanskrit Synonyms:
Karnasphota – That which (the fruit of which) produces a bursting sound.
Shrutisphota – That which (the fruit of which) produces a bursting sound.
Triputa – Three keeled fruit
Krishna Tandula – Black colored seeds.
Chitraparnija – Bright colored leaves.
Sphotalataa – Inflated fruit with papery capsule which bursts open with a sound.
Chandrikaa,  Ardhachandrikaa – Resembling moon or half crescent.


Morphology of Cardiospermum helicacabum:
The plant is a climber and has many branches. This plant is a slender herbaceous, more or less hairy, with their vine measuring 1 to 3 meters in length. The stem is approximately 3 mm thick, but it can reach a height of up to 2 meters. The stem forms internodes between 5 to 10 cm lengths.
The grooved stem carries alternate double triad leaves, 3 to 5 cm long, which are hairless or covered in a soft down of hairs.

The leaves are trifoliate and 5 to 9 cm long.
The leaflets are ovate to lanceolate and 1 to 5 cm long, with coarsely toothed or lobed margins.
The tiny radiate flowers are white, standing in rolls on long flower stems of 5 to 10 cm in length.
The perianth consists of 4 to 5 egg-shaped sepals and four petals with banner or wing-like fine combs.
There are 8 anthers.
Immediately beneath the flower stalks are 2 cm long tendrils, usually in pairs.
The fruit is inflated, ob-ovoid, 1.5 to 2.5 cm long, triangular and three keeled.
The seeds are black and rounded with a prominent white heart shaped aril at the base.
The seed coat is black, opaque, smooth, thick and very hard with a white finely porous, chordate spot at the micropyle. The plant is found all over the plains of India in the temperate climate.

Properties, part used, dosage

Winter Cherry medicinal Properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Rooksha (Dry in nature)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Vatapitta shamaka (reduces vitiated vata and pitta dosha)

Part used- Fruit, Flower, Juice, Root
Root powder- 3 to 5 g
Juice- 10 to 15 ml
Decoction- 50 to 75 ml

Chemical composition

Chemical composition of Cardiospermum halicacabum:
The leaves contain beta-sitosterol and its D-glucoside, an alkaloid, oxalic acid and amino acids. The presence of a saponin and quebrachitol is reported in the plant. The seed oil have erucic acid 43%, oleic acid 30%, eicosonic acid 12%, octanoic acid 4.57% and n-hexadecanoic acid 4.15% and rich in tri terpenoids.


Uses of Balloon vine – Karnasphota:

  • The fresh juice of the fruit of Cardiospermum helicacabum in a dose of 30-40 ml can produce a laxative effect and hence used in patients suffering from constipation.
  • The paste of the root of karnasphota is applied over the joints affected with pain and inflammation as part of treatment.
  • The decoction of the plant is given in a dose of 40-50 ml with honey to treat cough and dyspnea.
  • The paste of the fruit and root of Cardiospermum helicacabum is mixed with turmeric paste to treat cases of rat bite and spider poisoning.
  • The decoction of the plant is given in a dose of about 50 ml to treat orchitis (inflammation of the testicles).
  • Coconut oil is processed with decoction of the whole plant of Cardiospermum helicacabum and the oil obtained is used for external application on the scalp to treat cases of dandruff and alopecia.
  • The decoction of the root of karnasphota, in a dose of 40-50 ml, is given to treat cases of diarrhea.

Sanskrit verse


Qualities and uses as per Ayurveda:
Katu –pungent, spicy
Hima – coolant
Vishapaha – anti toxic, useful in poisoning
Indicated in
Graharoga – Psychiatric disorders
Bhuta – psychiatric disorders, anti microbial

Adverse effects

Adverse effects of Smooth leaved Heart Pea:
No adverse effect is known or reported after the normal use of Karnasphota.

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 of the 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.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic Medicines containing Karnasphota:
Chukkumthippalyadi gulika: It is an Ayurvedic tablet used in treatment of fever.
Keshakamalam hair oil: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine, used in the treatment of Hair fall, dandruff, etc.
Mahadhanwantaram gulika: It is an Ayurvedic medicine used to safeguard pregnancy during pregnancy care, bloating of abdomen due to indigestion and in conditions of gastritis.


Research articles related to Cardiospermum helicacabum:
Anti- oxidant activity: In the current study, we investigated the antioxidant potency of methanol extract of C. halicacabum. (CHE) employing various established in vitro. systems, such as the ?.-carotene-linoleate model system, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH)/superoxide/nitric oxide radical scavenging, reducing power, and iron ion chelating activity. The multiple antioxidant activity of CHE was evident as it also possessed reducing power, superoxide scavenging ability, nitric oxide scavenging activity, and also ferrous ion chelating potency.

Anti- viral activity: The plant active principles extracted using five solvents were identified, and tested for antiHIV, antiHBV and phytochemical constituents. The obtained results indicated C. halicacabum bioactive principles potentiality as HIV and HBV co-infection controlling novel therapeutics lead compounds.

Anti- diabetic activity: The present study was designed to investigate the glucose up take of (antidiabetic activity) crude n-hexane,ethanol, methanol and aqueous leaf extracts of Cardiospermum Halicacabum. The present findings suggest that, the methanolic extract showed a significant inhibitory effect on glucose diffusion in vitro thus validating the traditional claim of the plant.

In this study, the anti-arthritic effect of oral administration of ethanolic extract of Cardiospermum halicacabum leaves (CEE) at the dose of 125 mg/kg and 250 mg/kg on Freund’s complete adjuvant (FCA) induced arthritis has been studied in rats. The investigated result showed that the extract inhibited the FCA induced arthritis in a dose dependent manner and this effect was more significant (p<0.001) with 250 mg/kg dose. The results suggest that the ethanolic extract of Cardiospermum halicacabum leaves exhibits significant anti-arthritic effect.

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the anticonvulsant effects of alcoholic root extract of Cardiospermum halicacabum L., Sapindaceae (ARECH), on the various murine models of epilepsy. The root extract of the plant was administered p.o. to male swiss albino mice at doses of 30, 100 and 300 mg/kg before evaluation. ARECH at doses of 100 and 300 mg/kg significantly delayed the onset of clonus and tonus in pentylenetetrazol, isoniazid and picrotoxin-induced convulsions. These results suggested that ARECH possesses a significant anticonvulsant activity with a low motor toxicity profile.

Anti- diarrheal activity: The present study to carry out the anti-diarrheal activity of leaf extracts of Cardiospermum halicacabum and Dodonea viscosa in different experimental models of diarrhea. The alcoholic and aqueous extracts of Cardiospermum halicacabum and Dodonea viscosa have exhibited the dose dependant antidiarrhoeal activity in all the three experimental models by reducing the frequency of defecation as well as total weight of wet faeces, decreased the propulsion of charcoal meal through the gastrointestinal tract and also decrease in the oedema volume in the intestine (intestinal secretion) of the drug treated animals with the respective models of diarrhea. Cardiospermum halicacabum and Dodonea viscosa shows to have a potential value for the development of a phytomedicine for diarrhea.

Classical categorization

Raja Nighantu- Guduchyadi varga

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Subfamily: Sapindoideae
Genus: Cardiospermum
Species: C. halicacabum

Author:  Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK

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