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Varuna (Crateva nurvala) - Uses, Health Benefits, Dosage, Medicinal Properties

crataeva nurvala natural herb

English: Three leaved caper
Hindi: Barna, barun
Sanskrit: Varuna

The name Crataeva derives from Crataevus, a Greek botanist, while the suffix 'religiosa' denotes its growth near places of worship. It was known to ancient Ayurvedic physicians who used it as a blood purifier and to maintain homeostasis.


A small tree, often found wild along river banks and cultivated throughout India. It is distributed in sub-Himalayan tracts and is indigenous to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.

Botanical description

A deciduous and much-branched tree, with trifoliate, glabrous, ovate leaflets (Plate 21). The flowers are large, greenish-white in dense terminal corymbs and the fruits fleshy, ovoid with a tough rind and brown seeds embedded in the fleshy pulp. The mature bark is wrinkled and rough with visible lenticels; the outer surface is greyish to greyish-brown in colour.

Parts used

Stem bark, root bark, leaves.

Traditional and modern use

It is used mainly in the treatment of urinal}' calculi, crystalluria and urinary infections, but is valued as a bitter, antiperiodic, aperitif, astringent, demulcent, laxative, rubefacient, tonic, liver stimulant and vesicant. It has been used for malaria and tumours.

Ethnoveterinary usage

The stem bark is used in the treatment of renal lithiasis, swelling of the liver and diarrhoea.

Major chemical constituents

Cadabicine and cadabicine diacetate are present in the stem bark. Tannins
(-) Epiafzelechin, (-) epiafzelechin-S-O-?-D glucoside and catechin in bark.


Diosgenin has been isolated from the stem bark, p-sitosterol, lupeol and their acetates, varunol, spinasterol acetate, taraxasterol, 3-epilupeol and lupenone from stem, root and seeds.


Rutin, quercetin, isoquercetin and glucocapparin are also present.

Medicinal and pharmacological activities

Antiinflammatory activity: Lupeol and its linoleate ester, when administered orally at a dose of 50 mg/kg for 8 days in a model of adjuvant-induced rat inflammation, reduced the alterations in the enzyme levels found in arthritic rats compared to normal rats.

Antilithiatic activity: The effect of lupeol on calcium oxalate stones was measured. Ammonium oxalate was administered to the adult male rats of Wi star strain to induce a hyperoxaluric condition, resulting in increased excretion of oxalate and elevation of the urinary marker enzymes, indicating renal tissue damage. Lupeol, at a dose of 25 mg/kg, reduced the levels of these enzymes. This suggests a beneficial effect in reducing deposition of stone-forming constituents in the kidney. In another experiment the effect of a Crataeva nuruala bark decoction was studied in inbred male albino rats predisposed to calcium oxalate stone formation. In the control, calculogenic, group, there was a significant increase in activities of the major oxalate-synthesising enzymes in the liver, namely glycollate oxidase (GAO) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). However, a significant decrease in liver GAO activity was observed in rats treated with the bark decoction. A marginal decrease in Na+, K+ -ATPase and an increase in aspartate aminotransferase activities (without altering other enzymes) were produced by the decoction in rats fed with the calculi-producing diet. The decrease in liver GAO activity seen during decoction treatment may prove beneficial as a prophylactic measure in preventing stone recurrence. The bark decoction also lowered levels of small intestinal Na+, K+ -ATPases. The action on the small intestinal tract seems to be mediated through these, which in turn may affect the transport of metabolites. Clinically, the anti lithic effect was studied in patients with calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate nephrolithiasis. Treatment with Crataeva nuruala provided symptomatic relief of pain and dysuria and the disappearance of urinary crystals in 65-70% patients in the calcium oxalate group and 50-70% in the calcium phosphate group. Radiological reduction in size was also observed.

Safety proftle

The leaves are reported to cause reddening and even blistering of the skin when applied topically. The decoctions of the root bark and stem bark appear to be well tolerated. The LDso of a 50% ethanolic extract of stem bark was found to be 1000 mg/kg administered IP to adult rats.


  • Leaf paste: topical use Decoction: 50 ml bd

Ayurvedic properties

  • Rasa: Tikta (bitter), kashaya (astringent)
  • Guna: Laghu (light), ruksha (dry)
  • Veerya: Ushna (hot)
  • Vipaka: Katu (pungent)
  • Dosha: Pacifies kapha and vata, promotes pitta

Varunadi Vati

varunadi vati

Varuna is the God of water according to ayurveda. Varuna is a tree and it's called " Three leaved caper" in English. The bark of this tree is useful in urinary obstructions. This is also very useful in prostatic hypertrophy and even prostate cancer. It's useful in kidney stones, renal failure as well. Can be used with Mutrakrichantak Churna, Kidney Support, Punarnava mandoor for kidney problems It is a useful combination of herbs for enlarged prostate, painful micturition, urinary tract strictures, kidney problems, kidney stones etc. It can be used with Curcumin, Kachnaar Guggul, Neem, Punarnava mandoor for prostate cancer Read More

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