Boerhavia Diffusa Linn

Botanical Name: Boerhavia Diffusa Linn / Repens Linn

Sanskrit Name: Punarnava



Vernacular names :

  1. Hindi – Gadahapurana
  2. Engish –Spreading Hog weed
  3. Malayalam –ThazhuThama
  4. Tamil –Mukaratte- Kirai

Synonyms –Kathillaka, Varsabhu, Sothaghni

Ganas in classical texts:

Charaka: Vayahsthapana, Kasahara, Anuvasanopaga, Svedopaga

Susruta: Vidarigandhadi


Boerhavia Diffusa Linn is considered to be dry during summer and which reccur during autumn according to Sounaka

It is an important herb with excellent therapeutic utility in Sotha. Though modern research now and then reported it as diuretic, iti is not emphasized for Mutrala purpose in the major ayurvedic texts. It is also appreciated as a rasayana drug in the literature. Except in the context of vayahsthapana group, charaka quoted two types of punarnava. In the sakavarga he described he described punarnava with the synonym “ kathilla”. Susruta included both varsabha and punarnava in the sakavarga


  1. Rakthapunarnava( B. diffusa)
  2. Svetapunarnava( T. pertulacastrum )

Botanical details

  1. Boerhavia Diffusa Linn  – Perennial creeping herb with stout woody root and branches are diffused. Leaves are opposite. Flowers are small, red, white, and with terminal pinnacles. Fruits are 5 ribbed, spherical, glandular.
  2. portulacastrumdiffuse prostate glabrous herb. Leaves are opposite, broadly obovate, unequally paired. Flowers are solitary. White or pinkish.Fruits have capsules and contains one seed. Seeds are reniform, dull black.

Chemical constituents

  1. Boerhavia Diffusa Linn – hentriacontane, beta- sitosterol, oxalic acid, D-glucose, punarnavoside, punarnavine -1, punarnavine-2, boeravinones A,B,Cetc
  2. portulacastrum – trianthemine and ecdysterone.


Rasa –Madhura, Tikta, Kasaya

Guna –Laghu, Ruksa

Virya – Usna

Vipaka –Katu

Karma –Kaphavatahara, Sothahara, Vayahsthapana, Dipana


Sotha, Pandu, Visaroga, Rakthapitta, Bradhna, Udara, Hridroga, Svaasa

Part used –Whole plant , Root, Leaf

Therapeutic uses

Nidranaasa- decoction of punarnava is very useful

Sotha- ghee prepared with the decoction and paste is given

Alarka Visa- svetapunarnava is given with dhattura fruits

Plihodara- svetapunarnava root is pounded with rice water and given only.


PunarnavastakaKwatha, Punarnavarishta, PunarnavadiMndura, Punarnavaditailam ,PunarnavaRasayana.

Research works

  1. Administration of punarnava for a period of 3-6 months showed that the drug decreased blood urea with a simultaneous increase in serum cholesterol and blood sugar. This is attributed to the rasayana effect of the drug ( AppaRao et al., 1969)
  2. The haematinic effect of the drug is reported through a clinical study (Apparao et al., 1967)
  3. A significant diuretic activity of alcoholic and aqueous extracts and the active principle was found in saline loaded albino rats (Haravey, 1966)
  4. The fibrinolytic activity of B. diffusa is reported (Srivastava et al. 1980)
  5. Pyunarnavoside at oral dose of 25 mg/kg for 7 dasy stopped IUCD associated bleeding episodes in rheuses monkey (Ind.J.Chem. 1989, 28B, 163)
  6. Boerhavia Diffusa Linn is found to be a source of calcium channel blocker (Aftab et al., 1996)
  7. Seeds showed inhibitory activity against pseudo. Cichorii, bacillus subtilis, salm, typhimirium and esch. Coli )Sushil Kumar et al., 1997)
  8. The aqueous extract of roots collected in summer exhibited marked hepatoprotective activity (Rawat et al., 1997)
  9. Ethanolic extract of B. diffusa showed alpha- amylase activity in vitro ( Prashanth et al., 2001)