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.
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)
Photo courtesy: Sheji Ramkumar
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 ageing 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.
Vayahsthapana – anti ageing group of herbs
Kasahara – group of herbs useful against cough
Anuvasanopaga – Group of herbs useful in oil enema
Svedopaga – useful in sweating treatment
Punarnava – Hogweed – Different varieties
Two types of Punarnava are explained.
Shweta – white variety (based on colour of stem and flower) – also known as Varshabhu – Trianthema portulacastrum Linn (AIZOACEAE)
Rakta – red variety (based on colour of stem and flower)- Boerhaavia diffusa.
In Raja nighantu another variety “Nila Punarnava” – Blue variety, is also described.
It is found in many places of Africa, North and South America, Myanmar, China and India.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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 Oil – used in the treatment of many neuro- muscular and skeleto-muscular conditions, such as arthritis, neuralgia.
Sukumaram kashayam – Useful in constipation, menstrual pain
Amritaprasha Ghrita – Used for the treatment of burning sensation, fever, bleeding disorders, cough, etc.