Hurhur Herb – Uses, Remedies, Dose, Side Effects, Research

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Hurhur plant is known as Suvarchala herb in Ayurveda. It is used to treat blood disorders, bronchitis, boils, earache, headaches, cough, epilepsy, stomach-ache, conjunctivitis, worm infestation, arthritis, inflammation, localized pains, anaemia, malaria, pneumonia, snake bite etc

Many scholars consider Suvarchala herb mentioned in Ayurveda treatise as Hurhur plant which has two varieties.
Safed Hur hur – Shwet Hurhur (white variety) – Gynanadropis pentaphylla
Pith Hurhur (yellow variety) – Cleome viscosa

Remedies, qualities, uses

Traditional Uses of Cleome viscosa

  • Whole plant is rubbed over the body in rheumatism.
  • Bruised leaves when applied externally in herpes act as counter irritant.
  • Leaf juice mixed with butter relieves middle ear inflammation. It is also applied over wound and ulcer.
  • Leaf decoction act as expectorant and can be used to treat cough.
  • Steam of whole plant is inhaled to treat headache.
  • Seed decoction is used to treat rheumatism, gonorrhoea, diarrhoea, dysentery. It is also used to wash piles.
  • Seeds and its oil have anthelminthic and carminative property. They are not effective in round worm infection.
  • Seeds are also known to be effective in convulsion, fever, diarrhoea and skin disease.
  • Roots are used to treat scurvy and rheumatism.
  • Leaves are used to treat headache, earache, boils and wounds.
  • In deafness, leaves juice oil is used as ear drops.

2 Varieties of Suvarchala
Suvarchala (Cleome viscosa)
Brahmasudurlabha/ Brahmasuvarchala (Gynanadropis pentaphylla)

Medicinal Qualities of Suvarchala (Cleome viscosa)
Taste – Katu (pungent)
Virya (potency) – cold
Vipaka (taste after digestion) – Sweet
Dry (ruksha)
Heavy to digest (guru)
Sara (causes mobility in body channels)
Kshara (alkaline)

Effect on doshas
Apittala – Slightly increases pitta
Balances Kapha and Vata dosha

Brahma Suvarchala

Medicinal Qualities of Brahmasuvarchala (Gynanadropis pentaphylla)
Taste – Bitter (tiktha), Astringent (kashaya), Pungent (katu)
Virya (potency) – Hot (ushna)
Sara – causes mobility in body channels
Dry (ruksha)
Light to digest (laghu)
Effect on dosha
Balances kapha and pitta dosha

Indications of Hurhur paudha:
Blood disorders
Shwasa – asthma, breathing difficulty
Kasa – cough
Aruchi – tastelessness
Visphota – boils
Kushta – skin disease
Prameha – diabetes
Yoni roga – gynaecological disorders
Krimi – intestinal worm infestation
Pandu – anaemia
Vistambha – constipation

Cleome viscosa Morphology, pharmacology

Suvarchala (Cleome viscosa)
Botanical Name – Cleome viscosa
Family – Cleomaceae

Morphology of Cleome viscosa (Pith Hurhur)
Cleome viscosa is an annual,erect herb growing up to 1 – 3 feet tall. Leaves are alternate, digitate with 3-5 leaflets. Flowers yellow, have long stalks. Fruit cylindrical, erect capsule, 10 cm long, glandular hairy, dehiscent.

Pharmacological Activity of Pila Hurhur
Cleome viscosa possess anthelmintic, antimicrobial, analgesic, anti inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antipyretic, psycho-pharmacological, antidiarrheal, and hepatoprotective activities.

Distributions of Cleome viscosa
Found throughout India and tropics of the world.

Chemical constituents of Cleome viscosa
Fresh leaves of Cleome viscosa contain water, protein, Calcium, Phosphorous, Iron, Ascorbic acid. Seed oil contains linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, volatile components.

Brahmasuvarchala (Gynandropis pentaphylla)

Botanical Name – Gynandropis pentaphylla
Synonyms – Cleome gynandra, Cleome pentaphylla, Gynandropsis gynandra
Family – Cleomaceae

Sanskrit suvarchala of Brahmasuvarchala (shweth hurhur)
Suryavartha, ravipritha

Gynandropis pentaphylla

Morphology of Gynandropis pentaphylla
Gynandropis pentaphylla grows up to 1 – 3 feet tall. Leaves digitate, hairy. Leaflets webbed, 2 – 10 cm long, subsessile, obovate-elliptic to oblanceolate. Flowers are white, have long stalks. Fruit capsule, long-stalked, spindle-shape, 12 cm long. 

Gynandropis pentaphylla is found in hot areas throughout India.

Traditional remedies of brahmsuvarchal (Gynandropis pentaphylla)

  • To relieve weakness in fever, juice of whole plant is given in 5 – 10 ml dose.
  • Leaf juice is used as ear drops in earache and ear discharge. Leaf oil is also used in earache.
  • Leaf paste is used to subside tumours.
  • In headache, inhalation of leaves helps to relieve headache. Leaf paste applied over forehead also helps.
  • Leaf juice is also used as eye wash.
  • Seeds are used as antihelminthic (krimighna), antispasmodic . It also act as carminative and digestive.
  • Decoction of leaves or roots is used to facilitate childbirth, relieve abdominal pain, worm infestation, constipation.
  • Root infusion is used to relieve chest pain.
  • Leaf infusion is used to treat diarrhoea and anaemia.
  • Boiled leaves of C. gynandra are used to boost immunity.

Other uses of Gynandropis pentaphylla

  • Plant has insecticidal, antifeedant and repellent properties.
  • Leaves act as disinfectants and has anti-tick properties
  • Seed oil is used as fish poison
  • Anti-feedant action against the tobacco caterpillar.

Phytochemical constituents of Gynandropis pentaphylla
Seeds extract contain alkaloids, flavones, sugar, phenolic group, saponin, amino acid and essential oil.

Gynandropis pentaphylla is also considered as Ajagandha and Tilaparni.
In Raja Nighantu, Suvarchal is mentioned as the synonym of Brahmi and Mandukaparni. Dhanvantari Nighantu and Shodalal Nighantu has also mentioned suvarchal as one of the synonyms of Mandukarparni herb.

Controversy, synonyms, vernacular

Names of Saphed Hurhur in different languages
English Name – Shona cabbage, spiderwisp, cat’s whiskers, Bastard-mustard
Hindi Name – Huhur saphed, chamni, karaila
Marathi Name – Tilvan, Matvan, Malli
Bengali Name – Hurhuriya
Gujarati Name – Dholi talvarna
Telugu Name – Vaminta, Vamitam
Malayalam Name – Taivel, karavela
Tamil Name – kadugu, velai
Kannada Name – Shrikala
Konkani Name – Shirkala

Names of Pila Hurhur in different Languages
Hindi Name – Chamni, Hurhur pila
English Name – Dog mustard, Tickweed, wild mustard, spiderplant
Marathi Name – Pivali, Tilvan
Tamil Name – Nayikkadugu
Telugu Name – Kukhavominta
Gujarati Name – Pili talvarna, Talvani
Bengali Name – Hurhuriya
Punjabi Name – Hulhul, Bugra
Malyalam Name – Ariavila

Side Effects Of Hurhur
Excessive use of Cleome viscosa seeds causes flatulence and distension of the stomach.(read more)
Leaves can cause burning sensation, stomach irritation. On external application sometimes cause blisters on skin.

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.

Dose, research, category

Decoction – 10 – 20 ml
Juice 5 – 10 ml
Seed powder 1 – 3 grams

Part Used
Whole plant

1. Antimicrobial Activity – The study proved the significant antimicrobial activity of extracts of Gynandropis pentaphylla and thus justified its traditional medicinal use of this plant.
2. Anti diabetic Activity – A study conducted to evaluate hypoglycaemic and antihyperglycaemic activity of aqueous extract of root of Gynandropsis gynandra herb has revealed hypoglycaemic action of Gynandropsis gynandra.
3. A review article describes about ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Cleome viscosa Linn (read more).

Classical Catergorisation
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Guduchyaadi Varga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadi Varga

Sanskrit Synonyms of Suvarchala (Hurhur pila)
Varada, Badara

Click to Consult Dr Renita D’Souza

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