What is Punarnava? What are the Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects of Boerhavia Diffusa?

Brief Introduction 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.

Morphology and Chemical Constituent 

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 Constituent of Punarnava 

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.

What are the health benefits & uses of Boerhavia Diffusa? 

Punarnava has antifungal, anti-inflammatory and 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 Punarnava 

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 well herbal remedy for digestion and inflammation, it helps to 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 has the capacity to rejuvenate pancreatic beta-cells and 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 to maintain 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.

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How to use Boerhavia Diffusa?

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.

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.

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).

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