Punarnava: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Introduction: 

Punarnava is an indigenous plant with numerous medicinal properties. Punarnava derives its name from its nature of growth and proliferation. The aerial part of the plant dries up in summer and regenerates in the rainy season; the word “Punarnava” means Punar = once again, Nava = new, on the whole meaning “becoming new again”. 1 

Othe Names of Punarnava

Punarnava is called Hogweed in English, and the botanical name of the plant is Boerhavia diffusa.

This plant has many different names in India like

  • Punarnava in Sanskrit
  • Gadapurna or Biskafra in Hindi
  • Thazhuthama in Malayalam
  • Ghetuli in Marathi
  • Kommeberu in Kannada
  • Satodi in Gujarati
  • Atikamamidi Erra galijeru in Telugu
  • Mukurattai in Tamil.2,3 

Nutritional Value of Punarnava: 

Name of the components Calculated per 100g serving size Per capsule per 100g Presence (+) or Absence (-) 
Carbohydrate 415.68 mg 83.13 %  
Protein  35.96 mg 7.19 %  
Cholesterol 12.55 mg 2.51 %  
Alkaloid   
Glycoside   
Flavonoid   
Tannin   
Saponin   
Steroid/Terpenoid   
Total Ash (%w/w)  5.28   
Table 1: Nutritional value chart of Punarnava4 

Therapeutic Uses of Punarnava: 

Punarnava has been in use in Ayurveda since ancient times. All parts of the plant can be used in the preparation of various formulations due to its therapeutic benefits as follows.1 

  • The leaves of the Punarnava plant have anti-bacterial properties that make it an excellent candidate to reduce bacterial infections caused due to both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.1,3 
  • The chloroform extract of the leaves of Punarnava can reduce blood glucose levels and shows a significant increase in plasma insulin levels.1 
  • The aqueous form of root extract of Punarnava possesses good liver protective activity.1,3 
  • The extract from the leaves of Punarnava consists of antiproliferative and antiestrogenic activity that can act on breast cancer cells to control them.1 
  • The leaf and stem extracts of Punarnava could be applied to oedema as they can soothe the inflammation and swelling.1 
  • Punarnava is an excellent medication for convulsions.1 
  • The root extracts of Punarnava can stimulate the white blood cells and increase the tolerance to stress.1 
  • The plant has an anti-fibrinolytic activity that helps to decrease the deposition of fibrin and platelets in vessels.5 
  • It helps reduce corneal (stromal) oedema, inflammation, and tortuosity of glands. 5 
  • The herb can be used as a diuretic in kidney disorders and helps to manage symptoms of  spleen enlargement.6 
  • The extract of Punarnava also helps soothe cough as it can act as an expectorant.6 
  • The root of Punarnava consists of anti-helminthic properties to remove intestinal worms and asthma.6 

Benefits of Punarnava: 

Benefits of Punarnava for Eyes: 

  • Juice from the leaves of Punarnava can be mixed with honey and applied to the eyes to manage chronic ophthalmia and cataract.
  • Fresh juice from roots can relieve the symptoms of night blindness and conjunctivitis.
  • The other eye ailments that can be relieved are corneal opacity, watering eyes, and itchy eyes.5 

Benefits of Punarnava for Gastrointestinal Diseases: 

  • Punarnavadi Mandura is a formulation used to reduce the symptoms of malabsorption syndrome, worm infestation, inflammation, anaemia, splenic disease, and piles.
  • Punarnavasava is another formulation that can help manage dyspepsia and other conditions of the abdomen or enlargement of the abdomen.
  • It can also be used to manage splenic and liver disorders.7 

Benefits of Punarnava for Neuromuscular Disorders: 

  • Punarnava Guggulu is a medication that can relieve symptoms of neuromuscular disorders like sciatica; pain in calves, thighs, back, sacral, and bladder region.
  • It can reduce the inguinoscrotal swellings in men.7 

Benefits of Punarnava for Respiratory Diseases: 

  • Punarnavastaka and Punarnavadi Kvatha Churna are the two formulations used to manage cough, breathlessness, asthma, and colicky pain.
  • The root of the plant is very effective in preparing both medications.7 

Benefits of Punarnava for Joints: 

Punarnava may be beneficial in managing symptoms of rheumatism and gout.7 

Also Read: Bhumi Amla – Uses, Benefits & Precautions

How to Use Punarnava? 

Punarnava plant and its parts are treated differently to prepare medications for various types of diseases as follows: 

  1. Punarnava juice 1 
  2. Fresh leaf or root juice of Punarnava can be topically applied for eye disorders2 
  3. Punarnava powder with milk or water3 
  4. Ointment made with a paste of the roots of the Punarnava.6 
  5. Punarnava root is made to paste with ghee, honey, milk, Kanjika or Tila Taila and used as ointment for multiple purposes.5 

Your Ayurvedic physician will prescribe you the form and dosage as per your health condition. 

Also Read: Jamun – Nutritional Value, Uses, Benefits & Precautions

Side Effects of Punarnava: 

 No side effects have been reported so far. The medications are always prescribed in a course where one medicine neutralizes the toxicity of the other medicine.6 

Precautions to Take with Punarnava:  

  • Please consult your physician before taking the medication.6 
  • Not recommended for children below the age of 12 years.6 
  • Not recommended for pregnant women.6     

Also Read: Kanchanar Guggulu – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

Punarnava may interact with the following medications: 

  • Cardiac medications that treat diuresis, vasodilation, and ACE inhibitors. 7 
  • Hypertensive medications 7 
  • Anxiolytics as it may increase their activity.7  

Also Read: Ginko Biloba – Uses, Benefits & Precautions

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) Is Punarnava Beneficial in Weight Loss

Punarnava may effectively manage obesity by reducing appetite. It detoxifies the body and prevents fluid retention that may help in weight loss.6 

2) Can Punarnava Treat Glaucoma? 

Glaucoma is a condition of increased eye pressure within the eye that may occur due to diabetes. Hence, Punarnava, with its hypoglycemic activity, can cause a significant decrease in blood glucose level.  The root of Punarnava, when rubbed on stone and applied to eyes for a few days, may be beneficial to soothe eye disorders.5  

3) Is Punarnava Used to Treat Disorders of Kidney? 

The Punarnava plant may be helpful in kidney disorders like irregular blood pressure and diuresis. The plant extract is widely used for flushing out the kidney as diuretics. The extract of the plant as a powder and aqueous decoction may be used to aid management of nephrotic syndrome.3 

4) Which Part of the Punarnava Plant is used for Eye Disorders? 

The root of the plant is powdered and mixed with mamira (Thalictrum foliosum) to soothe the symptoms of eye disorders like corneal ulcers and night blindness. The leaves of the plant may be used to make ophthalmic lotions for various eye disorders.3 

5) Does Punarnava help to reduce Ascites? 

Yes, Punarnava may be beneficial to reduce the fluid accumulation in the abdomen. Also, it helps to reduce the symptoms of ascites caused due to liver diseases.6 

6) Is Punarnava used for Urinary Disorders? 

Punarnava is known to be beneficial for kidneys. It can act directly on nephrons damaged by diabetes. It acts as an excellent diuretic and can speed up the filtration process. Thus, it can flush out excessive fluids and other toxins easily.6 

Also Read: Pink Himalayan Salt – Uses, Benefits & Precautions

References: 

1. Bihari Dora B, Dora BB, Gupta S, Sital S, Pastore A. Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa): A Promising Indigenous Herbal Drug and Its Effect on Different Disease Conditions. 2015 [cited 2022 Feb 15];21–4. Available from: https://sciencejournals.stmjournals.in/index.php/RRJoHS/article/view/715  

2. Rao P, Pundareekaksha P, Assistant R, Rao PP. Essential Leafy Vegetables for Healthy Eyes. International Journal of Herbal Medicine [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2022 Feb 15];4(6):120–3. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335389783  

3. Awasthi LP, Verma HN. Boerhaavia diffusa-A Wild Herb with Potent Biological and Antimicrobial Properties. [Online].2006 [cited Feb 15]. Available from: https://www.asianagrihistory.org/pdf/volume10/boerhaavia.pdf  

4. Soni H, Navin S. Standardization of single herb capsules of Manjistha, Kokam and Punarnava with assessment of their Nutritional value . Journal of Pharmacy Research [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2022 Feb 15];3(8):1899–902. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267569749  

5. Rao pundareekaksha, Pundareekaksha Rao Asst P, Rao Asst P, Pundareekaksha Rao P. Ophthalmic uses of Boerhaavia Diffusa L. (Punarnava): Review. International Journal of Herbal Medicine [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2022 Feb 15];4(2). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335381955  

6. (PDF) Traditional Indian Herbs Punarnava and Its Medicinal Importance [Internet]. [cited 2022 Feb 15]. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285176083_Traditional_Indian_Herbs_Punarnava_and_Its_Medicinal_Importance  

7. Mishra S, Aeri V, Gaur PK, Jachak SM. Phytochemical, Therapeutic, and Ethnopharmacological Overview for a Traditionally Important Herb: Boerhavia diffusa Linn. BioMed Research International [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2022 Feb 15];2014. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24949473/  

Also Read: Masoor Dal – Uses, Benefits, Nutritional Value & Precautions

Disclaimer:

The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.