Punarnava: Benefits, Uses, Dosage, and Side Effects

Ayurveda medicine holds a lot of great herbs that contain medicinal properties.

Through this ancient type of medicine, many people can manage conditions without the need for pharmaceutical drugs.

Punarnava is one of the herbs that is frequently used in Ayurveda medicine. The medicinal plant has several potential benefits associated with it. Both men and women might be able to gain an advantage when they use a supplement with this plant.

We will take a closer look at the Punarnava plant in this post. We consider what the plant is and what chemicals it contains.

The post also focuses on the potential health benefits that may come with the use of Punarnava root. Furthermore, we consider the possible side-effects that people need to take note of before they decide to use this ayurvedic medicine.

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What Is Punarnava?

Punarnava is flowering medicinal plants. It is also classified as a perennial diffuse herb. It is part of the Nyctaginaceae family of plants and belongs to the species known as B. diffusa. The binomial name of Purnarnava is Boerhavia diffusa.

The flowers of the plant are generally red. They are also very small. Some fruits grow on the Punarnava plant too. The fruits yield a circular form and are about 1cm long. There are seeds inside the fruit that grows on the Punarnava plant. These seeds are described to be similar to cow beans.

The plant also has a stem that is usually purple and typically grows up to about one meter tall. There are cases where the plant can grow up to four meters in length, however. This is generally the case in a rainy season.

The leaves of the Punarnava plant grow up to about four centimeters in length. The leaves are generally white and long. They also feature a smooth surface.

The Punarnava plant is primarily found in India. It is also grown in other areas of the world in the modern-day. Some countries where the plant is also grown include

  • Southern United States

  • Brazil

  • Sudan

  • Australia

  • Sri Lanka

  • South Africa

  • Pakistan

The plant contains certain chemicals that have been linked to potential medicinal benefits.

Some of the chemicals that play a part in providing the medicinal properties associated with the plant include:

  • B-Sitosterol

  • A-2-Sitosterol

  • Boerhaavia acid ester of b-sitosterol

  • Tetracosanoic

  • Hentriacontane

  • Arachidic acid

  • Triacontanol

  • Punarnavine

  • B-Ecdysone

  • Ursolic acid

  • Stearic

  • Hentriacontane

  • Hexacosonoic

  • Boeravinon

  • Palmitic acid

Apart from these, several other chemicals have also been identified in the plant. These all play a role in the health benefits that a person may experience when they use a Punarnava supplement.

What Names Does Punarnava Go By?

The Punarnava plant has become quite popular throughout the world. Over the years, it has been called a few names. Apart from Punarnava, the plant may be called other names, depending on the region of the world it is bought.

In English, the Punarnava plant is also known as:

  • Red Hogweed

  • Horse Purslane

  • Spreading Hogweed

  • Pigweed

  • Tar vine

  • Red Spiderling

The plant is also known as other names. It is essential to consider the language that is spoken and the region of the world. This will make it easier for a man to obtain Punarnava in a particular area where he finds himself.

Some of the other names by which the plant is sold under include:

  • In Hindi, the plant is also called Gadah bindo, Gadahpurna, and Gadha-cand.

  • In Tamil, the plant may be called Mukaratte-Kirai.

  • In Urdu, the plant is known as Tukhm-i-ispas.

  • In Bengali, the plant is generally referred to as PUnarnova.

  • The plant is known as Vasu or Punarnava in Marathi.

  • In Nepalese, the plant is called Punarnava.

  • In French, the name of the plant is ipecacuanha de Cayenne or Fr. Guiana.

  • The plant is known as Komme in Kannada.

  • In Telugu, the plant is called Atakamamidi.

When buying a supplement in these regions, it is important to know the local name of the plant. This gives a person the ability to understand what to look for, regardless of where they are.

What Parts Are Used?

Several parts of the ayurvedic herb can be used to make a supplement. This is because the medicinal chemicals are located in various regions of the plant itself.

In many cases, a supplement may use the whole plant. In such a case, the supplement will specify that the entire plant was used in the production of the product. There are cases where only certain parts of the Punarnava plant will be used instead.

The root is sometimes used alone to produce medicinal products. In other cases, a person may find a product that only uses the leaves of the plant instead.

Specific chemicals are found in these particular regions of the plant. Thus, when only certain parts of the plant are used, specific health benefits may be mentioned on the product.

Medicinal Uses

Several medicinal properties are offered by the Punarnava plant. People use the plant for various reasons. Both men and women can benefit from the use of a supplement that contains Punarnava extract. We will take a closer look at the medicinal purposes of the plant below.

Urinary Symptoms

One of the primary uses of the plant is related to the renal and urinary system. The plant possesses anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been found that Punarnava contains powerful antioxidants.

The plant also seems to be a potent diuretic1. This means the use of Punarnava supplements may assist in promoting improvements in the removal of excess fluids in the body. The diuretic effects of the plant may also be helpful in people with specific urine symptoms. In urinary tract infection,

Punarnava helps to control burning sensation because it has Mutral (diuretic) effect. It increases the urine flow and subsides the symptoms of UTI like burning sensation during urination.

Several scientific publications have looked at the use of Punarnava in the treatment of urinary symptoms. One paper2 describes the popularity of the plant in folk medicine among the Northeast Gujarat region. The product is used to treat many urinary tract symptoms in this region. Symptoms often treated include:

Men with an enlarged prostate might also benefit from the use of Punarnava. Such a benefit is directly linked to the medicinal properties that come in useful when urinary symptoms develop. A benign enlarged prostate can put pressure on the urethra.

The primary symptoms of an enlarged prostate are generally linked to urinary symptoms. One paper3 describes the primary signs of this condition as a frequent urge to urinate, along with nighttime urination (nocturia).

These are issues that could be addressed with the use of Punarnava.
The anti-inflammatory effects may also be useful for men with an enlarged prostate. This may assist in reducing inflammation that affects the prostate gland. The antioxidant effects further benefit the prostate gland.

Improves Wound Healing

Some evidence suggests that extracts of the Punarnava plant may help speed up wound healing too.

In one review4, researchers found that Punarnava is a common plant used to assist in treating wounds. The review was conducted among a local population in the Garhwal Himalayan region.

A study5 in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine also describes these benefits. The study looked at the effects of a Punarnava leaf extract on wounds. It was found that wounds heal significantly faster when the leaf extract was applied.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Chemicals found in the plant may also benefit the cardiovascular system. One research paper6 lists Punarnava as one of the top herbal medicines used in primary healthcare.

The paper focuses on the healthcare system in Karnataka. The plant is frequently used to assist in the management of cardiovascular conditions in the area.

One study7 explains that Punarnava may assist in managing geriatric anemia. The study focused on the use of the plant among older patients.
In another study8, researchers show evidence that the plant is also useful for preventing mitochondrial dysfunction. The study mainly focused on study subjects who had previously experienced problems with their cardiovascular health.

Other Potential Benefits

Apart from the benefits listed above, there are several other medicinal uses for the Punarnava plant. The plant seems to be useful for the entire renal system. This includes the kidney ailments. In some cases, the plant is used to assist in the treatment of kidney stones and kidney disorders.

The Punarnava plant also holds benefits for the hepatic system. This hepaprotective properties of the plant make it useful in the management of liver-related diseases. The plant is sometimes used to assist in treating hepatitis. Jaundice has also been treated with extracts of this plant.

Other possible benefits that a person may experience include:

  • People with sciatica may benefit from Punarnava. The plant has been shown to hold benefits for the nervous system. Conditions that cause weakness may also improve.

  • Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, boerhaavia diffusa may help to induce edema, which in turn, can decrease the risk of congestive heart failure. This is a chronic disease that can result in symptoms such as water retention, fatigue, rapid breathing, chest pain, and heart failure.

  • An extract from the root extract is used as a kidney and liver tonic. It improves the functioning of kidneys damaged by diabetes and may be beneficial for chronic kidney disease. Being a diuretic and mild laxative, it helps in detoxification and prevents fluid retention.

  • It provides relief from joint pain and inflammation. As a result, punarnava can be used to help reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis-like pain and swelling.

  • The excretion of excess fluids in the body may be helpful for a person who is trying to lose weight. This makes the product appropriate for treating obesity too.

  • The hypoglycemic activity of the plant makes it an ideal product for people with diabetes trying to control blood sugar levels.

Does It Have Any Side Effects?

There are a few possible side-effects that a person may experience when they use a Punarnava supplement. It is important to understand both the adverse effects and precautions of the plant. This helps to reduce the risk of serious adverse events when using the supplement.

It is also advised for people to seek a consultation with a health practitioner before they use the supplement. This is especially important if the person has any existing medical conditions.

Full disclosure of drugs taken at the moment is crucial. This helps the healthcare provider see if there may be any interactions when the patient takes the supplement.

Some of the side-effects that may be experienced include:

  • There is a risk of increased blood pressure.

  • Some people experience a burning sensation in their throat. This is generally the case if the supplement is taken without food or water.

  • People with ethanol allergies may experience an allergic reaction. The plant extract does contain some ethanol and alcohol.

It is also important to note that Punarnava is not advised for pregnant women. There is little information available regarding the safety of the plant during pregnancy. Thus, women are rather advised to avoid using the product during this period.

Punarnava is not advised to be taken with alcohol. The plant extracts contain alcohol already. Combined with additional alcohol, side-effects may be aggravated. This may lead to drowsiness. The alcohol in the product may also interfere with a person’s ability to drive safely.

Overdosing on Punarnava can also cause complications. Thus, dosage instructions should be closely followed. This helps the person gain benefits without experiencing serious risks while using the plant.

The plant is also considered possibly unsafe for small children. It is not advised for any person under the age of 12 years.


Some side-effects can occur when taking too much of the plant. On the other hand, taking too little may not yield any noticeable health benefits.

Thus, people should acknowledge themselves with the appropriate dosage instructions. This helps to ensure they can experience the expected benefits. It also reduces the risk of adverse effects associated with an overdose.

The dosage depends on how the product is used. The specific form of the supplement should be taken into account. It is also important to consider the parts of the plant used.

When the whole plant is used, up to 30 grams can be taken as a daily serving.

When using a fresh juice that contains Punarnava extract, up to 20ml can be taken as a daily dosage.

Root powder extract should be taken with caution. A lower dose is advised due to the potency of the chemicals in the root of the plant. In most cases, a maximum daily dose of three grams is advisable. People are generally able to experience the medicinal effects of the gland with a dose as low as one-gram per day.


Punarnava is a herb that forms part of Ayurveda herbal medicine. The entire plant is often used to produce supplements that assist in the treatment and management of various conditions. Punarnava has an extensive list of potential benefits.

Men may also benefit from the plant if they have prostate problems. The plant might help to relieve urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate. This may improve urination and reduce discomfort. The swelling of the prostate might also be reduced with the use of a Punarnava supplement.

Punarnava inhibits 5 alpha-reductase enzymes to prevent the conversion of testosterone to DHT and shrink the prostate. It contains Beta-Sitosterol and Ursolic acid, as well as vitamin D and E, all essential ingredients found in the best supplements for prostate enlargement. Ursolic acid has anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce inflammation of the prostate and urethra. Meanwhile, Beta-sitosterols have been shown to help alleviate the symptoms of BPH by increasing your urine flow rate.

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  1. NISCAIR Online Periodicals Reports. (2009) Medicinal plants of Muzaffarnagar district used in the treatment of urinary tract and kidney stones. [online] Available at: http://nopr.niscair.res.in/handle/123456789/3943
  2. NISCAIR Online Periodicals Reports. (2010) Herbal folk medicines used for urinary complaints in tribal pockets of Northeast Gujarat. [online] Available at: http://nopr.niscair.res.in/handle/123456789/7168
  3. InformedHealth.org. (2008) Benign enlarged prostate: Overview. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279204/
  4. NISCAIR Online Periodicals Reports. (2005) Traditional knowledge on medicinal plants among rural women of the Garhwal Himalaya, Uttaranchai. [online] Available at: http://nopr.niscair.res.in/handle/123456789/8516
  5. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. (2020) Metabolite profiling and wound-healing activity of Boerhavia diffusa leaf extracts using in vitro and in vivo models. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411018303420
  6. NISCAIR Online Periodicals Reports. (2010) Hundred common forest medicinal plants of Karnataka in primary healthcare. [online] Available at: http://nopr.niscair.res.in/handle/123456789/7160
  7. AYU Journal. (2014) A clinical study of Punarnava Mandura in the management of Pandu Roga in old age (geriatric anemia). [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4649575/
  8. PLoS ONE. (2014) Protective Effect of Boerhaavia diffusa L. against Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Angiotensin II Induced Hypertrophy in H9c2 Cardiomyoblast Cells. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4005769/

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