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Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa)

Punarnava - Boerhavia diffusa

Punarnava, commonly known as ‘Spreading hog weed’ is a spreading diffusely branched pubescent or nearly glabrous herb. It is commonly occurring throughout as a common weed almost in all parts of country. The name ‘Punarnava’ indicates that it regenerates if it is partly cut off as well as in rainy season. The word ‘Boerhavia’ indicates the name of a discoverer and ‘diffusa’ means it spread on ground. Punarnava is one of the commonly seen plant in India and is widely used in different medicinal preparations. It is commonly used to pacify aggravated Kapha and Pitta doshas.  

 

Dr.Gupta’sIAFA conducted various studies to find out the active phytoconstituents in Punarnava and its various actions. The experienced scholars have successfully proven theDiuretic, Stomatic, Laxative, Expectorant, Febrifuge, Anthelmintic, Analgesic Antiinflammatory, Hepatoprotective, Immunomodulatory, Anti proliferative and Antiallergic actions of Punarnava. The experts of IAFA found out that analgesic, antiinflammatory, hepatoprotective, immunomodulatory and anti proliferative actions are bring about by a quinolizidine alkaloid isolated from Punarnava called Punarnavine. Four rotenoids extracted from methanolic extract of root of Punarnava possess significant antiinflammatory action. Ethanolic extract of this plant shows anti hyperglycemic and renoprotective effects.

Action ofPunarnava - Boerhavia diffusa in Allergies

IAFA experts are putting continuous efforts to prove the antiallergic property of Punarnava. The plant contains alkaloid punarnavine, punarnavoside, beta sitosterol, tetracosanoic acid, hexacosanoic acid, stearic acid, hentriacontane, ursolic acid, mysristic acid, oxalic acid, potassium nitrate etc. Thus it is used as an anti allergic, anthelmintic and antiinflammatory agent. It also pacifies aggravated Kapha and Pitta doshas. So Punarnava as juice or decoction is used against allergic reactions due to Kapha and Pitta dosha. 

Vernacular Names and Botanical Classification

Botanical NameBoerhavia diffusa
FamilyNyctaginaceae
Native Names
Sanskrit NamePunarnava 
Hindi NameBeshakapore
English NameSpreading hog weed
Malayalam NameTamilama, Thazhuthama
Kannada NameKomme gida
Marathi NameKhapra

Ayurveda reference of Punarnava - Boerhavia diffusa

Morphology of Punarnava - Boerhavia diffusa

  • A spreading diffusely branched pubescent or nearly glabrous herb.
  • Roots stout and often perennial. 
  • leaves rather thick, in unequal pairs, broadly ovate or somewhat circular.
  • Flowers in umbels of 4 -10, arranged in panicles.
  • Fruit 5-ribbed with glands on ribs.

Geographical distribution of Punarnava - Boerhavia diffusa

Plant occurs throughout as a common weed almost in all parts of country, generally on flat land and along road sides, also near water course.

Phytoconstituents of Punarnava - Boerhavia diffusa

The plant contains alkaloid punarnavine, punarnavoside, beta sitosterol, tetracosanoic acid, hexacosanoic acid, stearic acid, hentriacontane, ursolic acid, mysristic acid, oxalic acid, potassium nitrate etc.

Parts used of Punarnava - Boerhavia diffusa

  • Root
  • Whole plant 

Dosage of Punarnava - Boerhavia diffusa

  • Juice (swarasa)- 10-20 ml
  • Decoction (kwatha) – 40-80 ml

Medicinal Properties of Punarnava - Boerhavia diffusa

  • Sothahara – antiinflammatory 
  • Pandughna – useful in anaemia 
  • Pramehahara – relieves diabetes 
  • Kasahara – useful in treating cough
  • Sulahara – relieves pain
  • Dipana – useful as carminative 
  • Vishaghna – useful in poisoning 
  • Pacana – digestant 

Home remedies of Punarnava - Boerhavia diffusa

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of medicine which uses commonly seen herbs to treat various diseases. Punarnava is one of the commonly as en herb and has different uses like, 

  • In Oedema (Sotha) – A paste prepared from Punarnava, Nagara(Zingiber officinale) and Musta (Cyperus rotundus) is taken with milk.
  • In Calculus (Asmari) – Punarnava is cooked in milk and taken.
  • In Hemoptysis (Rakta shtivana) – Red variety of rice is cooked with Punarnava powder, juice of Draksha(Vitis vinifera), sugar, milk and ghee and taken.
  • As Carminative (Dipana) – Root of Punarnava is powdered and taken with honey.
  • In Anaemia (Pandu) – Whole Punarnava plant is taken, crushed and made into a decoction. It is then taken.
  • As Digestant (Pacana) – Punarnava powder is mixed in hot water and taken.
  • In Cough (Kasa) – Powdered Punarnava is mixed with honey and taken intermittently.  
  • In fever (Jwara) – Decoction made with Punarnava leaves are made to drink daily for a period of 7 days.

Article Written By: Dr. Sahil Gupta, Ayurvedic Allergist

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