Punarnava: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

 

Punarnava (Boerhavia Diffusa) is a perennial, straggling herb, with stem tallness up to 60 cm. The herb has a straight and very thick taproot with a much-branched stem. The plant has gained popularity in India for its medicinal merits. It is harvested from the wild and used as a green vegetable in food preparations locally and in herbal formulations. The word Punarnava means something that renews the body. This herb has been used since ancient times as a potent Ayurvedic which possesses immense health benefits.

Other Names for Punarnava

The scientific name of Punarnava is Boerhaavia Diffusa. It is also called as hogweed, Spreading hogweed, Vasedo, Satodi, Punarnova, Gadapushpa, Gadahpurna, Biskhapara, Gadha-cand, Shothagni, Tavilama, Thumizhama, Talutama, Thavizhama, Tukhm-i-ispast. 

 Benefits of Punarnava 

  • The various formulations of Punarnava showed diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • The decoction of Punarnava root is used as an analgesic, used to treat coughs, depressants for CNS, laxative, and in inducing abortion. 
  • Punarnava has been very useful in treating the patients suffering from nephrotic syndrome; the mechanism involved shows the increased serum protein level, followed by a reduction in urinary protein extraction. 
  • The leaves of Punarnava have been used in vegetable preparations, which tends to show a reduction in edema. 
  • No doubt about the Punarnava, which is majorly known for its anti-endemic property, but it also has a potential cardioprotective action due to which it protects the damage of the heart. 
  • Punarnava is nephroprotective; it improves kidney function by reducing the urea and creatinine levels in the blood. In addition to this, due to its lithotriptic action, it further helps to reduce kidney stone problems. 
  • Punarnava reduces bilirubin level to prevent jaundice. 
  • Punarnava is beneficial in maintaining blood sugar levels. The mechanism involves reducing the starch breakdown into glucose and thereby preventing the reduction of blood sugar. 
  • The bioactive compounds present in the extracts of Punarnava help prevent body weight gain and it helps reduce the cholesterol level in the blood. 
  • Due to a mild laxative property of Punarnava is a mild laxative; it helps in flushing out toxins from the body without the loss of essential nutrients and minerals. 
  • The administration of Punarnava powder helps in electrolytic balancing of ions in the plasma, which controls the movement of water between cells and their surroundings.

Uses of Punarnava 

  • Punarnava should be used along with Sunthi to get a better anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Punarnava is useful in Aamavata.
  • Due to the multifunctional properties of Punarnava is useful in heart disease and anemia.
  • The juice extracted from Punarnava leaf is used in the eyes through topical application.
  • Punarnava roots rubbed in honey are regionally carried out for cataract, continual conjunctivitis, blepharitis.
  • When the Punarnava root juice is placed into eyes which gives relive in eye illnesses like night blindness and conjunctivitis. 
  • Punarnava is beneficial in decreasing swelling and foul-smelling in pores and skin disorders.
  • Paste crafted from Punarnava roots is implemented at the injured wounds because it allows drying up the oozing out of that wound.
  • Punarnava is applied in enemas; it works as a purgative and treats flatulence. It works as a moderate laxative, and it complements the urge for food; for this reason, may be given in diverse gastric issues inclusive of constipation, that is a maximum, not unusual place hassle confronted through humans these days.
  • It is used for diverse functions as in diverse panchakarma strategies like Swedan (fomentation) where Punarnava roots particularly and Punarnava plant as an entire is used to relieve ache and swelling. 

Therapeutic uses: 

  • Herb is used as a diuretic 
  • Expectorant 
  • Stomachic 
  • Prescribed in the treatment of jaundice 
  • Effective in loss of digestive power 
  • Enlargement of spleen 
  • Used for relieving abdominal pains.

Recommended Dosage of Punarnava

The ayurvedic dosage of Punarnava varies according to its variants.

Different forms of Punarnava products

Form Preparation Recommended dosage/ day
Leaf Juice
  1. Grind fresh tender leaves and filter it to get the juice.
  2. Add the same quantity of water to avoid the after taste.
1-2 teaspoons
Root paste
  1. Grind the roots to make a fine paste.
  2. If required add milk to attain the desired consistency.
1 teaspoon
Churna
  1. Churna is a powder available in the local market.
  2. Mix ½ tea spoon of churna with honey
Decoction
  1. Add 1 teaspoon of churna with 2 cups of water.
  2. Boil the mixture until 1/4th initial volume of water.
  3. Take the water extract and add the same amount of water before administration.

Use of the Punarnava products as remedies

  1. The leaf juice of Punarnava can be taken once a day for better functioning of the liver and to get faster relief from jaundice.
  2. The Punarnava leaf or root or Churna paste is given to the males and females for improving the functioning of their reproductive system.
  3. In a situation like jaundice, respiratory-related issues, the administration of Punarnava decoction can help to improve the medical conditions.
  4. The Punarnava has shown excellent wound healing and inflammation managing properties and that is why the paste prepared from a leaf or root powder is used during snake/ scorpion/ insect bite.  
  5. The Punarnava leaves or root powder along with the mustard oil is used in the treatment of skin disorders.

Ref: Mishra S, Aeri V, Gaur PK, Jachak SM. 2014. BioMed Research International. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/808302).

Precautions While Using Punarnava 

  • Punarnava products are not advised for females during their pregnancy situation.
  • Punarnava plant extract contains solvent traces of an alcohol mixture, which aggravates side effects.
  • Do not take an overdose of Punarnava; it may lead to medical situations.
  • It is not addictive, but it is always preferred to consult the physician.
  • The intake is not advised for the age below 12 yrs.

 Are there any side effects of Punarnava?

  • There is a risk of increased blood pressure.
  • Some peoples experience a burning sensation in their throat when the supplement is taken without food or water.

FAQs

Is Punarnava helpful in preventing kidney-related problems? 

Yes, Punarnava is very useful during kidney stones problems. Due to its mural property, it helps to pass the stone through urine by increasing urine flow.

Is Punarnava helpful in Glaucoma?

Yes, oral administration of Punarnava decoction during simple chromic glaucoma shows a significant reduction in the intraocular pressures and remarkable improvement in visual acuity besides the arrest of further spread of visual defects.

Does Punarnava increase blood pressure?

Yes, it possesses significant antihypertensive properties that help to keep high blood pressure. Moreover, it is a diuretic that helps increase renal blood flow, which further contributes to its antihypertensive actions. 

 Does Punarnava help in the case of chronic kidney diseases?

Yes, the administration of Punarnava products not only helps improve digestion but also increases urine production due to which kidneys can easily excrete out uric acid from the body.

Does Punarnava help in cirrhosis?

Yes, the Punarnava herb has strong diuretic properties. The capsule forms of Punarnava with a dosage of 2 capsules/ day twice a daily is administrated in such situations to the patient.

Does Punarnava leaf increase hemoglobin?

Yes, Punarnava leaf extract administration helps increase the hemoglobin level of blood and thereby the oxygen-carrying capacity.

Can Punarnava be used in optic nerve damage?

Yes, Punarnava might help prevent eye-related problems like swelling, infection, and irritation. It is involved in balancing the Kapha and Pitta doshas which further help to reduce inflammation in the eyes as well as maintain eye health.