Boerhavia diffusa or Punarnava belongs to the family Nyctaginaceae . This is also known as spiderlings as this plant grows low and spreads like spider web. Boerhavia diffusa is identified by name Punarnava in India. Ayurvedic texts immensely praise the medicinal properties of this plant.
The juice of this plant has varied taste. It tastes sweet, bitter and astringent. Ayurveda acharyas indicate the properties of this plant as light (laghu) , dry (Ruksha) and hot potency (ushna veerya). All parts of this plant are used in ayurvedic herbal preparations.
Medicinal properties of Punarnava or Boerhavia diffusa
According to texts of ayurveda this plant alleviates all three doshas.
In Arthritis: It helps to reduce inflammation and pain in joints .
In Indigestion: Punarnava acts as a carminative, increases appetite, digests ama and reduces abdominal pain. It also relieves constipation.
In cough: It helps to reduce productive cough and asthma
Impotence: Seeds of this plant are used in Vajikarana Preparations. It increases hard erections and quality and quantity of semen. It rejuvenates male reproductive system.
In Skin Diseases: It is very useful in skin diseases like scabies. It is considered as an excellent natural remedy for guinea worms
In Anaemia: This plant combined with other herbal ingredients help in treating anemia
In Renal diseases: It acts as a diuretic and is used in ayurvedic preparations for renal calculi (kidney stone), Cystis and nephritis.
In liver disorders: Punarnava is widely used to rejuvenate liver and detoxify it. It helps in jaundice o r hepatitis. It is employed in Brazilian herbal medicine to stimulate the emptying of the gallbladder and for all types of liver disorders
In menorrhagia: Boerhavia diffusa is used as an active ingredient in ayurvedic preparations for menorrhagia
Body Rejuvenation: It rejuvenates whole body and gives a new life and health (Hence the name Punarnava (New again)). It strengthens the body and normalizes doshas. This helps to boost the immunity to diseases.
Note: Cardiac patients should use this herb under the supervision of a qualified doctor.
Dr. Suri: Thanks for all the information on Punarnava. I have been doing some reading to day on Ayurvedic health practices. While I admire a lot of what advocated in Ayurveda, my main question is this:
As a doctor, do you ever question how a very esoteric plant substance can be heralded as a remedy or healing factor for all of the diseases and health conditions listed above?
It seems a bit unbelievable in my book when something like this is touted as being efficacious for such wide ranging health problems.