What is Boerhavia Diffusa? Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects of Punarnava - A Comprehensive Review

Table of Contents

1. What is Boerhavia Diffusa? 
2. Common Names of Boerhavia Diffusa
3. Morphology & Chemical Copounds
4. Ayurvedic properties of Boerhavia Diffusa
5. Health Benefits of Punarnava
6. Uses of Boerhavia Diffusa
7. Side Effects of the Boerhavia Diffusa
8. Frequently Asked Question

1. What is Boerhavia Diffusa? 

Punarnava, also known as Boerhavia Diffusa, is a herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is native to India and has been used for centuries due to its medicinal properties. The herb is a perennial flowering plant that belongs to the Nyctaginaceae family. Punarnava is used for various health conditions, including inflammation, urinary tract infections, liver and kidney problems, and respiratory disorders. The herb is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and analgesic properties. Punarnava is available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and powders. Although it is generally considered safe, it may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in some people. In this article, we will explore the health benefits, uses, and side effects of Punarnava in more detail.

2. Common Names of Boerhavia Diffusa

Punarnava botanical name is Boerhavia Diffusa, some common names are punarnava, red spiderling, spreading hogweed, or tarvine, it is mainly found in many parts of India. The plant is widely used in traditional medicine for its diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties, and has been studied for its potential therapeutic applications. Additionally, Boerhavia Diffusa has been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for various ailments, including urinary tract infections, respiratory disorders, and liver problems. The leaves, roots, and flowers are used in Ayurveda for medicinal and for culinary purposes in India and beyond. It bears small flowers and fruit and is especially prevalent during the rainy season.

3. Morphology and Chemical Compounds


Punarnava has long trailing branches with small unequal and oval shaped leaves, the flowers are often bright scarlet to red-violet in color but can be shades of pink.

The fruit is round and circular and contains seeds like cow beans. The roots of the plant are yellowish to brown, long, and twisted. The season of fruit and flowers is August to December.

Boerhavia Diffusa Leaves

In Ayurveda, Boerhavia Diffusa is considered a Rasayana which means rejuvenates the body by cleansing it with its unique property of flushing out the toxins from the body tissues, balancing the doshas, and cleaning, opening, and nourishing the various body channels, so that each tissue of the body gets proper nutrition.

Boerhavia Diffusa Flower

Boerhavia Diffusa is bitter and astringent in taste and has cold potency, it also balances Kapha and Pitta doshas, it is known as herbal medicine for pain relief and is used for other medicinal purposes. 

Boerhavia Diffusa Roots

Chemical Compounds

Boerhavia Diffusa root contains various chemical constituents, including flavonoids, alkaloids, terpenoids, phenolic compounds, and glycosides. Some of the major chemical constituents found in Boerhavia Diffusa root include punarnavoside, punarnavine, boeravinones, flavonoids like kaempferol and quercetin, and alkaloids like betaine and ephedrine.

4. Ayurvedic Properties of Boerhavia Diffusa

It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to address various health conditions.

Ayurvedic properties of Boerhavia diffusa:

1. Rasa (Taste): Punarnava is known to have a bitter (Tikta) and astringent (Kashaya) taste.

2. Virya (Potency): It is cooling in nature (Sheeta Virya).

3. Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is sweet (Madhura Vipaka).

4. Dosha Effects: Boerhavia diffusa mainly balances Pitta and Kapha doshas. Its cooling nature helps pacify excess heat in the body.

Ayurvedic Uses:

  1. Diuretic and Kidney Health: Punarnava is well-known for its diuretic properties. It helps in promoting urine flow, supporting kidney health, and managing urinary tract disorders.

  2. Anti-inflammatory: The herb possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which make it useful in managing inflammatory conditions and swelling.

  3. Liver Health: Punarnava is believed to have a beneficial effect on liver health. It may support detoxification and enhance liver function.

  4. Cardiovascular Health: It is used in Ayurveda to support heart health and may help manage certain cardiovascular conditions.

  5. Rejuvenative: Punarnava is considered a rejuvenating herb (Rasayana) that supports overall vitality and rejuvenation of body tissues.

  6. Digestive Support: It aids digestion by promoting healthy appetite and digestion, and it may help manage digestive disorders like indigestion and constipation.

  7. Skin Health: The herb is used to support skin health and manage skin-related issues.

  8. Anti-microbial: Punarnava is believed to have certain antimicrobial properties, which may help in managing infections.

5. What are the health benefits & uses of Red Spiderling? 

Punarnava has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticonvulsant, analgesic, laxative, antibacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-spasmodic properties.

The root of the Punarnava is beneficial in intestinal colic, kidney disorders, cough, hemorrhoids, skin diseases, alcoholism, insomnia, eye diseases, asthma, and jaundice. 

Here are some health benefits of Spreading Hogweed

For Eyes

Punarnava is beneficial in many eye disorders, leaf juice with honey dropped in the eyes gives relief from chronic ophthalmia. Punarnava can also be used to treat cataracts; fresh root juice gives relief from various eye alignments like night blindness and conjunctivitis.

For Digestion

Punarnava is a very good herbal remedy for digestion and inflammation. It helps treat constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, and it helps in the secretion of digestive juices which increase the absorption of essential nutrients and enhance the digestion process.

For Diabetes

Punarnava is extremely beneficial to maintaining blood sugar levels and controlling diabetes, it can rejuvenate pancreatic beta-cells decrease blood glucose, and significantly increase plasma insulin levels.

It is also beneficial to reduce the breakdown of starch into glucose which in turn prevents the sudden spike in blood sugar.

For Urinary Disorders

Punarnava has anti-spasmodic, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties which are beneficial and treat urinary tract infections, kidney stones, reduce urinary inflammation, and reduce pain while urination.

For Weight Loss

Due to its laxative properties, Punarnava is beneficial to manage weight and burn excess fat, the presence of bioactive constituents prevents weight gain and reduces the bad cholesterol in the blood. 

For Cardiac

Punarnava possesses a preventive and productive role in maintaining cell survival, cellular interaction, and maintenance of cell membrane architecture, which reduces the risk of heart attacks, heart blocks, and blood clots. It helps to strengthen the heart muscle and reduce the cholesterol in the blood.

Buy Boerhavia Diffusa Root Powder

6. How to use Tarvine?

Boerhavia Diffusa is used in Ayurveda with various preparation for different types of diseases, here are some listed below.

  • Boerhavia Diffusa root powder with honey, water, and milk.
  • Fresh root juice.
  • Use Boerhavia Diffusa root juice as an ointment.
  • Root powder with ghee, rice flour, and honey and make a paste, use this paste as an ointment for eye problems.

Some precautions before taking Punarnava

  • If you are on medication, please consult your doctor first before use of Punarnava.
  • It is not safe for pregnant ladies.
  • It is not recommended for children under age 12.
  • Do not overdose on Punarnava it may cause a medical emergency.
  • Do not take after or with drinking alcohol, it may cause drowsiness.

7. What are the side effects of Boerhavia Diffusa?

Ayurvedic herbs are not harmful, but they may react to your current lifestyle and habits, that is why it is always advisable that consult first with your doctor before starting any ayurvedic preparation. Here are some side effects listed below.

  • Boerhavia Diffusa can increase blood pressure, if you are on medication for high blood pressure, consult first.
  • If you have any ethanol-related allergies, it is not advisable to take Boerhavia Diffusa.
  • Do not take Boerhavia Diffusa / Punarnava if you are on any cardiac or weight loss medication.

8. Frequently Asked Question

Q - How can take Boerhavia Diffusa?

Boerhavia Diffusa can be used with milk, water, honey, and ghee. Roots juice mixed with honey and ghee is used as an ointment. Mix Boerhavia Diffusa root powder with honey and water and make a small tablet.

Q - Which part of the Boerhavia Diffusa is used for eyes?

Roots powder or fresh root juice mixed with milk, honey, and ghee is used for eyes disorders like cataracts, eye alignments like night blindness and conjunctivitis, itchy eyes, and watering eyes. Here are some uses.

  • Root powder with ghee is used for the treatment of corneal opacity.
  • Root powder with honey is used for watering eyes.
  • Root powder with oil or milk is used for itchy eyes.

Q - What are the properties of Boerhavia Diffusa?

Boerhavia Diffusa has laghu, ruksha property. It aggravates the vata dosha and suppresses the pitta dosha. It works like Deepana (Enhance appetite), Shothaghna (Reduce oedema), Kasahara (Alleviates cough), Vayasthapana (Promoter longevity), Rasayana (Rejuvenative), Hridaya (Nourishes the heart), Stambhana (stop bleeding and excessive secretions), Chakshushya (Benefits the eyes), Arshoghna (Reduces haemorrhoids), Grahihara (Alleviates dysentery), Shula prashamana (Alleviates colic), Mutrala (Diuretic), Mutravaha rasayana (Rejuvenation of the urinary system), Ashmarighna (Lithotriptic).

Q - What are the health benefits of Punarnava?

Punarnava has a variety of potential health benefits, including:

  • Diuretic properties: Punarnava may help to increase urine output and reduce swelling caused by fluid buildup.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Punarnava may help to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
  • Antioxidant properties: Punarnava contains compounds that act as antioxidants, which can help to protect against oxidative stress.
  • Cardiovascular benefits: Punarnava may help reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease.

Q - What are the uses of Punarnava?

Punarnava has been used to treat a variety of health conditions, including:

  • Edema (swelling caused by fluid buildup)
  • Arthritis
  • Respiratory disorders, such as asthma and bronchitis
  • Liver and kidney disorders
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Skin disorders, such as eczema and psoriasis.

Q - What are the side effects of Punarnava?

Punarnava is generally considered safe when used as directed, but it may cause side effects in some people. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. It may also interact with certain medications, so it is important to talk to your healthcare provider before using Punarnava if you are taking any medications.

Q - How is Punarnava typically consumed?

Punarnava can be consumed in a variety of ways, including:
Capsules or tablets: Punarnava supplements are available in capsule or tablet form.

  • Tea: Punarnava tea can be made by steeping the plant's roots or leaves in hot water.
  • Powder: Punarnava powder can be added to smoothies or other beverages.
  • Topical application: Punarnava can be applied topically to the skin to treat skin disorders.

Q - Is Punarnava safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women?

It is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women to use Punarnava without consulting a healthcare provider. It may have potential side effects and interactions with medications, and there is limited research on its safety during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Q - Can Punarnava be used for weight loss?

Punarnava may have some diuretic properties that can aid in weight loss by reducing fluid buildup and bloating, but it should not be used as a primary weight loss method. It is important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine to achieve sustainable weight loss.

Q - What are the benefits of using Boerhavia Diffusa powder?

Boerhavia Diffusa powder, derived from the Boerhavia Diffusa plant, is believed to offer several potential health benefits. Some commonly reported benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant effects, and potential support for kidney health. It is also believed to have diuretic properties and may aid in detoxification.

Q - How do I use Boerhavia Diffusa powder?

Boerhavia Diffusa powder is typically consumed orally. The exact dosage and usage instructions may vary, so it's recommended to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or consult a healthcare professional for guidance. The powder can be mixed with water, juice, or added to smoothies or other beverages.

Q - Can Boerhavia Diffusa powder help with weight loss?

Boerhavia Diffusa powder is not specifically known as a weight loss supplement. While it may have diuretic properties that could contribute to temporary weight loss by reducing water retention, it is not a substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise. If you are interested in weight loss, it's important to focus on a well-balanced diet, physical activity, and consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Q - Is Boerhavia Diffusa powder safe for long-term use?

Boerhavia Diffusa powder is generally considered safe for short-term use when consumed in recommended dosages.

Q - Is Boerhavia Diffusa powder effective for managing diabetes?

Boerhavia Diffusa powder has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for its potential effects on blood sugar levels. Some preliminary studies suggest that it may have hypoglycemic properties and could potentially help manage diabetes.

Q - Can Boerhavia Diffusa powder help with kidney health?

Boerhavia Diffusa has been traditionally used to support kidney health in Ayurvedic medicine. It is believed to possess diuretic properties and may help flush out toxins from the body.

Q - Can Boerhavia Diffusa powder be used for detoxification?

Boerhavia Diffusa powder is often associated with potential detoxification benefits due to its diuretic properties, which may aid in eliminating waste products from the body through increased urine production.

Q - Are there any alternative forms of Boerhavia Diffusa for consumption?

Boerhavia Diffusa is available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, and teas. While Boerhavia Diffusa powder is one of the common forms, these alternatives provide different ways to incorporate the herb into your routine.


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