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Boerhavia coccinea, Boerhavia diffusa, Boerhavia repens

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Shivani Kagra* & K.L. Dahiya**


* Pursuing Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgeory; Lal Bahadur Shastri Mahila Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Bilaspur (Yamuna Nagar), Haryana, India

** Kurukshetra Global City, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India


Vernacular name:

Assamese: Ranga Punarnabha

Bengali: Rakta punarnava

English: Horse Purslene, Hog Weed, Red hogweed, Tar Vine, Red Spiderling, Wine flower

Gujarati: Dholisaturdi, Motostodo, Saturdi

Hindi: Gadapurna, Lalpunarnava, Lalpunarnava, Punarnava, Satha

Kannada: Adakaputtana gida, Sanadika, Snadika, Kommeberu, Komma

Kashmiri: Vanjula punarnava

Malayalam: Chuvanna Tazhutama, Tavilama, Tlutama

Marathi: Ghetuli, Khaparkhuti, Punarnava, Rakta Punarnava, Satodimula, Vasuchi muli

Oriya: Lalapuiruni, Nalipuruni, , Malipuruni

Punjabi: Iteit (Lal), Khattan

Sanskrit: Kathilla, Rakta Puspa, Sophaghni, Sothaghni, Varsabhu

Tamil: Mookarattai (Shihappu), Mukurattai (Shihappu)

Telugu: Atikamamidi, Erra galijeru

Urdu: Surkh Punarnava

Taxonomic classification 

Kingdom: Plantae - plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants

Subkingdom: Viridiplantae

Infrakingdom: Streptophyta - land plants

Superdivision: Embryophyta

Division: Tracheophyta - vascular plants, tracheophytes

Subdivision: Spermatophytina - spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames

Class: Magnoliopsida

Superorder: Caryophyllanae

Order: Caryophyllales

Family: Nyctaginaceae - four o'clocks, nyctaginacées; (Bougainvillea family)

Genus: Boerhavia L. – spiderling

Species: Boerhavia diffusa L. – Red hogweed, Tar Vine, Red Spiderling, Wineflower – (Syn. Boerhavia coccinea, Boerhavia repens)

Phytogeography: Found throughout India. Also, found in Bangladesh, Nigeria. Throughout India, ascending the hot Himalayan valleys up to 2300 meter.

Description: A prostrate herbal weed with very diffuse inflorescences.

Roots: Well developed, fairly long, somewhat tortuous, cylindrical, 0.2 - 1.5 cm in dia.; yellowish-brown to brown; surface, rough due to minute longitudinal striations and root scars; fracture, short; odour, not distinct; taste, slightly bitter.

Flowers: Inflorescences occur at the end of branches, are forked about 3-6 times, occasionally with sticky internodal bands.Branches are divergent, terminating in compact subumbellate or capitate, 2-5 flowered clusters. Flowers have stalk shorter than 0.5 mm. Bract at base of the flower tube quickly deciduous, lancelike, 0.8-1 mm. Flowers are purplish red to reddish pink or nearly white, bell-shaped beyond the constriction, 1-1.5 mm. Stamens 2-3, are inside the flower or barely protruding out.

Parts used: Leaves, roots, shoots, aerial parts, whole plant

Phytochemical Constituents: b-Sitosterol; 3,3´5-trihydroxy-7-methoxyflavone; 3,4-dimethoxy phenyl-1-O-b-Dapiofuranosyl-(1´´à3´)-O-b-D-glucopyranoside; 4´,7-dihydroxy-3´-methylflavone; Alkaloids; Boeravinone C; Eupalitin; Eupalitin-3-O-b-D-galactopyranoside; Eupalitin-3-O-b-D-galactopyranosyl-(1´´´à2´´)-O-b-D-galactopyranoside; Hentriacontane; Hypoxanthine-9-L-arabinofuranoside; Liriodendrin; Punarnavoside; Ursolic acid.

Pharmacological actions: Analgesic; Anticonvulsant; Antidiabetic; Antihyperglycemic; Anti-inflammatory; Antioxidant; Blood purifier; Hepatoprotective, hepatocuritive; Hypoglycemic; Renal protective.

Medicinal uses: Abdominal pain; Anaemeia; Arthritis; Bacterial infections; Congestive heart failure; Convulsions; Diabetes mellitus; Dyspepsia; Hepatosis, hepatopathy, hepatitis; Inflammation; Jaundice; Oedema; Splenomegaly; Stress; Tissue wasting.

Popular in Ayurveda, this herb is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The roots of Boerhavia diffusa, commonly known as 'Punarnava', are used by a large number of tribes in India for the treatment of various hepatic disorders and for internal inflammation. Anodectal data has also reported effectiveness of Boerhavia diffusa in cases of oedema and ascites resulting from early cirrhosis of the liver and chronic peritonitis.

Fresh leaf juice mixed with milk taken internally in mild cases of jaundice and for controlling cirrhosis of liver.

Other uses: Tender young leaves and shoots are cooked and used as a vegetable.

Dosage and administration: Juice obtained from macerated leaves is taken. Paste of shoots (20-25g) given twice daily before meals for a week in jaundice associated with loss of appetite. Powder: 3-6 gm. Whole plant: 20-30 gm for decoction. Roots: 1-3 gm of powder; 10-20 ml (Fresh Juice).


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