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Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa) - Uses, Health Benefits, Dosage, Medicinal Properties

bilberry leaf natural herbs

English: Spreading hogweed, pigweed
Hindi: Gadahpurna
Sanskrit: Punarnava

The plant has been used for diverse diseases for centuries. The term punarnava is also applied to other varieties of Boerhaavia.


It is found growing wild all over India and other Asian countries, to an altitude of 2000 m, in sandy soil and on waste ground.

Botanical description

Profusely branched, pubescent or glabrous, prostrate herb with a creeping stem 1-2 m long and a stout woody root (Plate 13). The leaves are ovate, thick, with long petioles and entire margins. The lower surface is white and smooth and the upper surface green and rough. The flowers are small, pink, red or white in axillary or terminal panicles; fruits are oblong with glandular anthocarps.

Parts used

Roots, whole plant, leaves and flowers.

Traditional and modern use

It is widely used, particularly as a diuretic in dropsy and renal disease, and has been used to treat asthma, convulsions, dysentery, diarrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, epilepsy, fever, erysipelas, fistula, jaundice, prolapse, malaria, hysteria, gastritis and enteritis, and as an emetic and expectorant.

Ethnoveterinary usage

The whole plant is used in ruminants to treat difficulties in urinating.

Major chemical constituents

Roots contain the rotenoids boeravinoneA B, C2, 0 and F and punarnavoside has also recently been isolated.


Liriodendrin and syringaresinol mono-BoD. glucoside have been isolated from the methanol extract.


The benzene extract yielded boerhavine, a dihydro isofuranoxanthone.

Medicinal and pharmacological activities

Hepatoprotective activity: An aqueous extract of the root (2 mVkg) conferred a marked protection of the serum parameters GOT, GPT, ACP and ALP; however, no protection of GLDH and bilirubin was observed. The aqueous extract was more potent than the powdered drug. The chloroform and methanolic extract of roots also exhibited hepatoprotective activity and oral administration of an ethanolic extract of the whole plant of B. dijfusa showed activity against carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in rats and mice. A strong choleretic action was observed which resulted in an increase in bile flow and no signs of toxicity were observed up to an oral dose of 2 g/kg body weight in mice. Three rotenoids, one steroid and one flavone isolated from the plant lowered the content of enzyme GOT.

Ca2+ channel antagonism: Liriodendrin, a lignan isolated from the methanolic extract of the roots of B. dijfusa, exhibited a significant Ca2+ channel antagonistic effect in frog heart single cells using the whole cell voltage clamp method.

Antifibrinorytic activity: The root extract, administered to monkeys fitted with an intrauterine device (IUD), produced a noticeable reduction in the amount and duration of menstrual flow (124%) and menstrual iron loss, indicating a potent antifibrinolytic and antiinflammatory action and substantiating its use in IUD-induced menorrhagia. Punarnavoside has been identified as an antifibrinolytic agent.

Inhibition of bone resorption: A methanolic extract of the whole plant, as well as two flavonoids isolated from it (eupalitin-3-0-B-D-galactopyranosyl-(l- 2)- B- D-glucopyrano-side and eupalitin-3-0-B-D-galactopyranoside), showed significant inhibitory action regarding bone resorption.

Teratogenicity: Administration of an ethanolic extract of B. diffusa daily in a dose of 250 g/kg body weight PO to pregnant albino female rats during the entire period of gestation did not cause any teratogenic effects.

Effect on levels of GABA: Differential effects on GABA levels in various regions of the brain of rats under stress were observed when treated with Boerhaavia dijfusa and a reduction in stress and protection from haemorrhagic ulcers were observed. GABA-ergic involvement in the antis tress activity of the drug was postulated.

Diuretic action: Clinically, a diuretic effect comparable to furosemide was observed, with a reduction in urinary protein excretion and increase in serum protein level in patients with nephrotic syndrome. Immunoglobulins and immune complexes were increased after a month of medication and punarnava was considered to be a useful and safe drug. A seasonal variation was exhibited for the diuretic and antiinflammatory effects of the roots and leaves of the plant, with maximum activity observed in plants collected in the rainy season.

Safety profile

Safe if used with appropriate clinical guidance but may raise blood pressure and affect the heart. The LDso for a 50% ethanolic extract of the root and the whole plant was 1000 mg/kg body weight in adult albino rats.


  • Root juice: 9-12 g Leaf juice: 12-25 g Root powder: 8-15 g

Ayurvedic properties

  • Rasa: Madhur (sweet), tikta (bitter), kashaya (astringent)
  • Guna: Laghu (light), ruksha (dry) Vipaka: Madhur (sweet) Vee?a:Ushna(ho?
  • Dosha: Pacifies the tridosha

Where to Buy Punarnava Powder?

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Punarnava Mandoor

punarnava mandur

A classical ayurvedic formulation for anemia, Low Platelet count, Low RBC count, Swelling around Joints, Generalised Swelling, Gout and other endotoxins accumulation. It is also diuretic and is useful in renal disorders. In renal failure, it is used with Mutrakrichantak Churna for getting good results. Kidney support can also be used with it.

It 's also good for edema and especially intra-ocular pressure. It also reduces tension in the eye ball and useful in Glaucoma. Read more About Punarnava Mandoor

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1 Bottle