Commonly known as Punarnava, it is an essential medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine till the date. Punarnava is a flowering plant that belongs to the four o’clock family which has 33 genera and 290 species.
This herbaceous plant, which has the botanical name Boerhavia Diffusa, belongs to the genus Nyctaginaceae. The word Punarnava means “renewal of the body” or “rejuvenation of the body“.
They are also commonly known as Hogweed, Red Hogweed, Spreading Hogweed, Red Spiderling, Tarvine, Pigweed, and Horse Purslane.
Punarnava is famous for acting as an excellent pain reliever that reduces pain and inflammation in various parts of the body. The green leaves of the Boerhavia Diffusa plant are consumed as one of the most nutritious green vegetables in many parts of India.
It is noteworthy that Punarnava herb has played a prominent role in Indian traditional medicine since ancient times.
In countries like India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, millions of people use it as ayurvedic herbal medicine in their daily lives. In addition, they indirectly influence Chinese and Tibetan medicine.
Widely used throughout India, the Pacific, and South America, these plants are perennial herbaceous creeping weeds.
Boerhavia Diffusa grows to a height of about 0.75 m to 1 m on normal days and has branches that can grow up to about 4 m only during the rainy season.
The trunk of the plant is succulent, prostrate, cylindrical, woody, and has purple or hairy tips. Its fleshy and very dense leaves reveal the uniqueness of the plant, with hairy ends arranged in unequal pairs.
The leaves are round, ovate, elliptic, with smooth fur on the green surface and sub-cortex at the base. The hairs at the base of the leaves are white and pink. 4 to 10 small flowers form clusters bracteolate umbrellas that come in red, purple, pink, white colors.
The smallest flowers are about 5 mm in diameter, each with pollen of about 65 microns in diameter. The seed of this plant called an Achene, is round in shape, the seeds of which have the shape of cow’s beans and a pale green or brown color.
Its taproot is cylindrical to narrow fusiform, tuberous shape, conical tapering. They are also thick, succulent, brown, brownish-gray, light yellow in color, and have a very bitter taste.
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Types of Punarnava
According to the statement mentioned in the Ayurvedic text, the Punarnava plant has two different varieties, the WHITE PUNARNAVA and RED PUNARNAVA.
Commonly known as Boerhavia Diffusa, it is also known as White Punarnava and Trianthema Portulacastrum as Red Punarnava.
The white Punarnava plant is the best herbal medicine in Ayurvedic medicine and the red Punarnava plant is used to adulterate the roots of Boerhavia Diffusa.
The white variety of Punarnava acts as a “Dosha Shiamak” which helps to deal with the three major defects of Vata, Pitta, & Kapha. In this way, all three defects are aggressively sealed without any side effects.
At the same time, although red Punarnava has the effect of suppressing Kapha defects, their maximum use may increase Vata defects.
Overall, both types of Punarnava plants are widely used for both Ruksha (dry) and Laghu (light) properties.
Health Benefits of Punarnava
“Punarnava” is a wonderful herbal plant of nature that treats all ailments and rejuvenates the body. And the root, leaf, seeds of the plant is widely utilized as the home remedy. Used by all people for various reasons, this plant has innumerable medicinal properties and health benefits.
It effectively treats jaundice, common cold, fever, loss of appetite, and obesity. In addition, Boerhavia Diffusa contributes greatly to the treatment of diseases of the heart, bones, kidneys, bladder, joints, liver, uterus, and spleen. Here are the primary uses and health benefits of Punarnava.
1. Treats UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)
The Punarnava plant has powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and antimicrobial properties. Because of these properties they act as a diuretic and help to expel excess fluid from the body through the urine.
The Boerhavia Diffusa plant is extremely helpful in treating all types of UTI such as painful urination, low urination, and excessive urination. A study was conducted on women with symptoms of specific urinary tract infections in which they were given Punarnava Root extract.
Symptoms of UTI in participants were found to be decreased at short intervals due to the diuretic effects of the extract. An enlarged prostate can cause pressure in the urethra and thereby pain, which can eventually lead to a urinary tract infection.
Researchers suggest that men with an enlarged prostate can get the greatest benefit by continuing the consumption of Punarnava supplement, which is directly linked to medical characteristics. In addition, the antioxidant effects of Punarnava reduce inflammation of the prostate gland and aid in balanced urinary excretion.
2. Helps to Cure Kidney Disease
Boerhavia Diffusa activates nephroprotective functions that are important in curing kidney disease and supporting a healthy kidney system.
The first and main cause of kidney infection is excessive urinary retention, so Punarnava acts as a diuretic and helps to expel excess urine. It also helps to reduce the levels of glycosuria (sugar in the urine), albuminuria (proteins in the urine), and lipuria (fat in the urine), which can cause kidney stones.
Taking Punarnava in combination with Chandraprabha vati herb during this process will be more effective. Patients with renal insufficiency can effectively reduce the level of urea and creatinine in their blood by regularly consuming Punarnava extract, thereby improving kidney function.
They also play a role in suppressing appetite, stimulating appetite at regular intervals, and regulating liver function. Patients with end-stage renal disease may experience difficulty in breathing, in this time Punarnava may have positive effects.
This herb increases urine output to treat oliguria caused by low urine output. Punarnava undergoes a lithotriptic process of breaking/dissolving kidney stones, which causes painful urination. Research has shown that regular use of this ayurvedic herb powder for a month can better promote kidney function.
Although various theories have been put forward that Punarnava is effective in treating nephrotic syndrome, the contribution of Kamdudha Ras herb in the treatment of nephrotic syndrome is highly regarded.
3. Ameliorates Cardiovascular Health
Punarnava is one of the most important herbal plants used in primary health care for heart-related diseases. Certain chemical compounds in this plant support heart function and prevent adverse processes affecting the heart.
Thus Boerhavia Diffusa is being used extensively to manage heart conditions in various parts of India. The antiedemic property in the roots of this plant carries out anti-cardiovascular activities that inhibit the processes that affect the heart functioning.
Factors such as high cholesterol, high triglyceride, high blood sugar, and insulin resistance are also a major cause of heart disease. Punarnava plays an important role in controlling such risk factors and protecting the heart from damage.
Another risk factor for heart disease is edema, which is controlled by taking Punarnava regularly. The medicinal herb Punarnava helps to reduce the workload on the heart by reducing edema.
Elderly patients with anemia were given Punarnava root extract daily, which in the end proved with evidence that the plant was effective in preventing mitochondrial dysfunction in participants. The results of this follow-up study also revealed that the problems in the heart health of the patients were easily rectified.
4. Best Medicine for Jaundice
Bilirubin is a yellowish compound formed during the cleavage of red blood cells, which travels through the liver, gallbladder, and digestive tract, respectively, and is excreted with the body’s wastes.
The bilirubin activity that occurs in the normal catabolic pathway breaks down the iron-containing compound called heme in the spine. This catalyst helps to flush out the waste products that form when abnormal or aging red blood cells are destroyed.
Excess bilirubin levels can lead to a variety of liver problems, including Jaundice. Punarnava acts as a very powerful herb in controlling bilirubin levels and maintaining a balanced level.
Mix 5 g of Punarnava root powder in 80 ml of water and boil, letting the water become reduced to 20 ml. With regular intake of filtered water of this mixture twice a day for 4 consecutive days, you can get drastic relief from Jaundice and many other liver diseases.
5. Promotes Wound Healing
In ancient times, the extracts derived from the Punarnava plant have antiseptic properties that were used as an excellent natural remedy for wounds, inflammation, and bleeding. These extracts are still widely used in various traditional medicine, including Ayurveda, to treat wounds, as they have the ability to speed up the healing process.
A study conducted on Punarnava demonstrated that the juice extracted from the leaves of this plant has the property of accelerating the healing process of wounds.
A study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found that Punarnava leaf extract has a fast healing effect.
6. Cures Edema
Excess fluid and waste that accumulate in tissues, cells, tissue cavities, and bone marrow can cause a variety of symptoms, including inflammation. Punarnava acts as a diuretic and helps to prevent body ailments by expelling excess fluids.
A condition called edema is caused by excess fluid accumulating in the tissues of the body. The antiedemic properties of Punarnava extract prevent and relieve abnormal fluid accumulation in the circulatory system or tissues.
These plants contribute greatly to the treatment of damage and disruption of the lymphatic system. Punarnava helps in reducing the inflammation caused by edema and in fighting the lymphatic blockage.
7. Stabilize Blood Sugar Level
Keeping blood sugar and insulin levels consistent at all times will have no major risks on the body. Conversely, all abnormalities such as high blood sugar, low blood sugar, high insulin excretion, and low insulin excretion can lead to dangerous diseases including diabetes.
Boerhavia Diffusa plant extract is very beneficial in controlling blood sugar and insulin levels. The level of insulin produced by pancreatic cells is significantly increased when taking Punarnava herb.
This prevents the spike (peak) of blood sugar as the production of glucose promoted by Punarnava effectively inhibits the process of breaking down starch easily.
Punarnava leaf extract is effective not only for diabetics but also for people with insulin secretion problems and insulin resistance. These increase the level of insulin in the plasma, and significantly lower the level of glucose in the blood.
8. Aids In Digestion
Punarnava not only suppresses frequent hunger but also helps in relieving digestive disorders. Besides, these plants are very helpful in reducing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, inflammation and effectively treating abdominal pain and intestinal disorders.
Its leaves and root extracts act as a powerful digestive agent and cure all intestinal problems. Punarnava facilitates digestion by properly stimulating the secretion of the gland and prevents over-absorption of essential nutrients.
Sciatica is a medical term that refers to the pain in the sciatic nerves, which usually affects only half of the body. Punarnava can be a beneficial solution for those who have such a sciatica problem. Studies have shown that this plant reduces weakness and enhances the benefits of the nervous system.
9. Promotes Weight Loss
The Boerhavia Diffusa herb is beneficial in significantly promoting weight loss and obesity reduction functions. Because of this, they are used as one of the main ingredients in all weight loss products.
Punarnava helps to flush out excess wastes, fluids, and fats from the body by greatly promoting urination without loss of potassium and electrolytes. Due to this process, the body loses weight effectively and directly avoids heart diseases.
The powerful bioactive components contained in Punarnava carry out the process of preventing weight gain and also help in controlling the LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Boerhavia Diffusa is a natural herbal plant that burns excess fat and has refreshing effects on the body. These have mild laxative properties, so they help maintain the weight by removing harmful toxins and unwanted fluids from the body.
10. Perfect Remedy for Inflammation
Boerhavia Diffusa has excellent anti-inflammatory properties so they are used as an excellent natural remedy for pain and inflammation. They also help in relieving inflammation not only of the external body parts but also of various internal organs.
That is, Punarnava can be used to treat all inflammatory disorders of the heart, lungs, airways, kidneys, uterus, bones, joints, abdomen, and intestinal tract. The continuous use of these plants works best on inflammation and is an adjunct to various functions of the body.
When a disorder called endometriosis occurs on the lining tissues of the uterus in women it can delay menstruation or cause a dysmenorrhea condition. In such cases, drinking decoction made with Punarnava roots can reduce inflammation and provide relief from ovarian pain.
Women with membranous dysmenorrhea should use Gulkand and Praval Pishti in combination with this water for quick relief. These medicinal plants are very effective in treating persistent or chronic UTIs that occur during pregnancy.
11. Beneficial for Liver
The role of Punarnava in cleansing, rejuvenating, and improving the liver is immense. This most widely used herb in India has hepatoprotective properties through which liver-related diseases are effectively managed.
Therefore, the extract of the leaves of this plant is rich in therapeutic properties for iron deficiency, jaundice, anemia, dull liver, anorexia, hepatitis, etc. When the body is affected by any infection, Punarnava helps in dealing with stress, fatigue, and relaxation.
When this plant is used for many ailments they provide endurance, extra health, and help to restore vitality. A healthy liver helps to increase the level of basal hemoglobin in humans, thereby Punarnava helps to fight liver disorders.
12. Prevent Cancer Cells
An alkaloid called Punarnavine contained in Punarnava acts as an anti-cancer agent and prevents cancer cells from entering the body. In addition, they are one of the best herbs for cancer treatment by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
Boerhavia Diffusa is also recommended for children as the punarnavine alkaloid can help boost the immune system. In the Punarnava study conducted on mice, the results demonstrated that they inhibit the metastatic growth of B16F-10 melanoma cells.
The extract derived from the whole plant of Punarnava helps in preventing certain types of cancer and limiting their effects. Besides, this medicinal plant has been proven with adequate sources for anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, hepato-protective, cardiokine, and choleretic.
13. For Common Cold
Punarnava works as a good remedy for cold,fever, and body aches caused by climate change & consuming cold foods. These help in smooth breathing by removing the mucus that has accumulated in the airways and prevents the progression of the common cold and provides immediate relief of it.
Stops persistent sneezing during the cold by expelling excess water from the body through tears and mucus. A decoction made using Punarnava can be taken twice a day to relieve colds and related symptoms.
Kashayam made from Punarnava, fennel seeds, Cinnamon, Sitopaladi Churna also provide relief from cold, and body pain.
14. For Arthritis
Punarnava herb is highly recommended for the treatment of bone-related ailments including joint pain, osteoporosis, inflammation, and muscle pain. Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, it acts as an excellent pain reliever and also helps in treating disorders.
That aside, they are also effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and chronic autoimmune diseases. Grinding the base leaves of this plant well and applying the available paste on the affected area can provide relief from pain and inflammation.
15. For Bronchial Asthma
Dangerous Kapha that builds up in the airways can cause respiratory illnesses such as asthma and shortness of breath, which can lead to impaired breathing. Researchers stated that Punarnava is beneficial in clearing the airways by removing the mucus and that the process is also more likely to cure chronic diseases, including asthma.
The best way to deal with respiratory problems is to drink a decoction made by boiling the dried Boerhavia Diffusa leaves, black pepper, and ginger juice.
Take about 3 g of finely powdered dried Punarnava leaf and mix 500 mg of turmeric powder in it. Inhalation of this mixture daily at the rate of three times a day removes bacteria and toxins from the airways and improves breathing. It is used in rural areas as a quality natural medicine to cure asthma.
16. For Impotence
Studies explicated that seeds of the Punarnava plant increase sperm count, sperm quality, and libido level in men. Moreover, since ancient times Ayurvedic medicine has been recommending Punarnava seeds as a remedy for all men’s problems as they are the best natural herb to rejuvenate the reproductive system.
Many people recommend this plant’s seeds as a medicine that has no side effects as it has the potential to cure even the most common erectile dysfunction in men.
17. For Anemia
Anemia is a scarcity of healthy red blood cells that carry the oxygen needed for the functioning of body tissues. Also, this condition of the body can be caused by iron deficiency. More specifically, there are many different causes of anemia, each of which depends on its individual impact.
Feelings of weakness and tiredness always occur in people with anemia. The disease can be temporary or chronic and can lead to satanic anemia or even severe. The level of anemia varies depending on the physical condition of the person affected.
Punarnava plant is high in iron and is suitable for anemia patients suffering from anorexia and weakness. These effectively reduce the symptoms of anemia by promoting the formation of red blood cells in the body of patients taking Punarnava supplement.
18. For Stomach Disorders
All forms of Punarnava (powder, extract, paste, oil) are used to treat all stomach related ailments like stomach ache, diarrhea, worms, muscle cramps, intestinal disorders. By consuming it in the recommended amount daily, all the organs in the abdomen are strengthened and regular stomach functions are effectively promoted.
In particular, this herb treats all problems related to the colon. Mix 5 gms of Punarnava root powder with water or milk and drink it three times a day to get rid of harmful worms easily.
19. For Dropsy
Dropsy is a disease caused by excess fluid that builds up in the tissues and cavities of the body. As already mentioned Punarnava works for diuretics as it helps to expel not only excess urine but also unwanted and excess water accumulated in various parts of the body.
It is an appropriate treatment for the dropsy condition and its associated effects by expelling all the liquid waste through the urine. Dropsy can be cured by boiling fresh Punarnava leaves in water or by consuming 4 to 6 grams of non-extract daily.
20. For Ascites
Ascites is a condition in which fluid forms abnormally in the abdomen, in contrast to natural processes. Technically speaking, more than 25 ml of fluid is formed in the peritoneal cavity found in the abdomen. Cirrhosis of the liver caused by chronic alcoholism and various cancer cells is the leading cause of Ascites.
This condition can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, weight gain, abdominal discomfort, and increased abdominal volume. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis can cause major complications in this condition.
The Boerhavia Diffusa plant helps to treat this condition caused by liver disorder. Regular consumption of Punarnava helps to flush out the water that has accumulated in the stomach and prevent water from stagnating again.
21. Manage Uric Acid Level
Uric acid, one of the various acids found in the body, is filtered by the kidneys and excreted as waste through urine. Uric acid levels in the body can also increase as a side effect of certain types of health disorders, including diabetes and being overweight.
But uric acid builds up in the kidneys without leaving from the body leading to a complex form of arthritis called gout. Gout caused by the accumulation of urate crystals in the kidneys can cause effects such as painful joints, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Punarnava plant is very helpful for the kidneys to effectively excrete uric acid. These plants are also an excellent remedy for controlling various effects on the body caused by chronic or sudden uric acid rise.
People who have problems with uric acid excretion can regularly take the recommended dose of Punarnava to increase uric acid secretion and their excretion through the kidneys.