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Asthisamharaka (Vitis quadrangularis): A Medicinal Plant with Promising Health Benefits and Therapeutic Potential

Introduction: Asthisamharaka (Vitis quadrangularis), also known as the Devil's Backbone or Hadjod, is a medicinal plant that has been widely used in traditional medicine systems for centuries. With its origins in India, this plant belongs to the Vitaceae family and is characterized by its unique four-angled stem. Hadjod holds significant importance in various cultures due to its potential health benefits and therapeutic properties. Its traditional use can be traced back to ancient Ayurvedic texts, where it is highly regarded for its ability to promote bone health and treat musculoskeletal disorders. Historically, Hadjod has been used as a natural remedy for fractures, bone loss, and joint-related conditions. In Ayurveda, it is classified as a 'Asthisandhaneeya' herb, meaning it has the potential to strengthen bones, promote fracture healing, and improve overall bone health. The plant's name, "Hadjod," is derived from the Hindi word "hadjod,"

Punarnava (Boerhaavia Diffusa): A Comprehensive Guide to Its Traditional Uses, Medicinal Properties, and Commercial Products


Punarnava, also known as Boerhaavia Diffusa, is a fascinating plant with a rich history and significant cultural and medicinal value. Its name, Punarnava, originates from Sanskrit, where "Punar" means "again" and "nava" means "new." This name perfectly captures the essence of the plant, as it is believed to rejuvenate and renew the body.

For centuries, Punarnava has been an integral part of traditional medicine systems across various cultures, including Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Unani. Its usage can be traced back to ancient times, where it was highly regarded for its medicinal properties and therapeutic benefits.

In many traditional medicinal systems, Punarnava has been primarily utilized for its diuretic properties, promoting healthy kidney function, and supporting urinary tract health. The plant has also been recognized for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hepatoprotective properties, making it a versatile herb with a wide range of applications.

The historical significance of Punarnava extends beyond its medicinal uses. It has been mentioned in ancient texts and scriptures, highlighting its cultural importance and symbolism in different societies. The plant holds a special place in folklore and traditional practices, often associated with vitality, rejuvenation, and spiritual well-being.

As scientific research continues to uncover the potential benefits of Punarnava, it is gaining recognition in modern herbal medicine and attracting the interest of researchers worldwide. With its intriguing history, cultural significance, and remarkable medicinal properties, Punarnava (Boerhaavia Diffusa) remains a subject of fascination and exploration for both traditional healers and modern scientists alike.

Botanical Description:

Punarnava (Boerhaavia Diffusa) is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the Nyctaginaceae family. It is known for its distinct botanical characteristics and adaptability to various habitats. Here are the key features of Punarnava:


Punarnava is a perennial herb that typically grows up to 1 meter (3 feet) in height, although it can reach taller heights under favorable conditions.

The plant has a thick, fleshy stem with multiple branches spreading outwards.

The leaves of Punarnava are simple, alternate, and elongated, ranging from 2 to 7 centimeters (0.8 to 2.8 inches) in length. They have a lanceolate shape and smooth texture.

The flowers are small, tubular, and inconspicuous, usually pale pink or white in color, and arranged in clusters. They give rise to small, rounded fruits containing seeds.

Habitat and Distribution:

Punarnava is native to the Indian subcontinent, specifically found in regions like India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. However, due to its medicinal and ornamental value, it has been introduced and cultivated in various parts of the world.

The plant thrives in tropical and subtropical regions, preferring moist, marshy areas, along riverbanks, and in damp soils. It is commonly found in wetlands, grasslands, and wastelands.

Variations and Subspecies:

Within the Boerhaavia genus, several species and subspecies exist, but the most commonly known and utilized is Boerhaavia Diffusa.

While variations within Punarnava can occur naturally, there are no widely recognized subspecies or distinct cultivars that have been extensively documented.

Scientific Nomenclature:

Punarnava is the common name used for Boerhaavia Diffusa. The scientific name Boerhaavia is derived from the Dutch botanist Herman Boerhaave, who made significant contributions to the field of medicine and botany in the 18th century.

The species name Diffusa refers to the plant's spreading growth habit and its tendency to occupy extensive areas.


By understanding the botanical characteristics, habitat, and distribution of Punarnava (Boerhaavia Diffusa), we can appreciate its adaptability and recognize it in its various forms across different regions of the world.

Traditional Uses:

Punarnava (Boerhaavia Diffusa) holds a long history of traditional use in various cultures and traditional medicinal systems. Punarnava is commonly used as an ingredient in various ayurvedic formulations. For example, Shahi Gokhru Kada is an ayurvedic kada specifically formulated for kidney health, which includes Punarnava as one of its key ingredients.

 Let's delve into its traditional uses, historical significance, and the preparations associated with it:


In Ayurveda, Punarnava is highly valued for its diuretic properties and is often used to support kidney and urinary tract health. It is believed to help flush out toxins and balance water retention in the body.

Additionally, Punarnava is considered beneficial for liver health and digestion. It is believed to support liver detoxification and improve overall digestive function.

Ayurvedic texts also mention Punarnava's use in promoting healthy skin, relieving joint discomfort, and supporting respiratory health.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):

In TCM, Punarnava is known as "Hogweed" or "Red Hogweed" and is used primarily as a diuretic herb to support kidney function and reduce edema.

It is also employed to clear heat and reduce inflammation in the body, especially in cases of urinary tract infections or urinary disorders.

Unani Medicine:

Punarnava is recognized in the Unani system of medicine for its diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to alleviate symptoms of urinary disorders, reduce swelling, and support liver and kidney health.

Historical Significance and Folklore:

Punarnava has been mentioned in ancient texts and scriptures, including the Ayurvedic classic texts like Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita.

In Indian folklore, Punarnava is associated with vitality, rejuvenation, and promoting overall well-being. It is believed to have the power to renew the body and restore youthfulness.

Medicinal Preparations:

Traditional medicinal preparations of Punarnava vary across cultures and systems. They include decoctions, infusions, powders, and herbal formulations.

Decoctions and infusions:

Punarnava roots, leaves, or whole plants are boiled in water to extract the beneficial compounds, creating a decoction or infusion that can be consumed orally.


Dried Punarnava parts are ground into a fine powder and used in various formulations or taken with water.

Herbal formulations:

Punarnava is often used as an ingredient in herbal formulations that combine it with other herbs for specific therapeutic purposes.


It's important to note that while Punarnava has a rich history of traditional use, it is essential to consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner or herbalist before using it for any specific health condition or if you have any underlying medical conditions.

Medicinal Properties and Benefits:

Punarnava (Boerhaavia Diffusa) possesses various medicinal properties that have been studied and supported by scientific research. Here are the key medicinal properties, active compounds, and potential health benefits associated with Punarnava:

Diuretic Properties:

Punarnava is well-known for its diuretic effect, promoting increased urine production and aiding in flushing out toxins and excess fluids from the body.

Scientific studies suggest that Punarnava's diuretic action may be attributed to the presence of bioactive compounds like punarnavine, boeravinone, and rotenoids.

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Activity:

Punarnava exhibits significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.

The presence of flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenolic compounds in Punarnava contributes to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Hepatoprotective Effects:

Punarnava has been traditionally used to support liver health and protect against liver damage.

Studies suggest that Punarnava extracts may exhibit hepatoprotective properties by reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and protecting liver cells from toxins.

Renal Protective Effects:

Punarnava has a long history of use in supporting kidney function and urinary tract health.

Research indicates that Punarnava extracts may have a nephroprotective effect by promoting diuresis, reducing kidney inflammation, and protecting against kidney damage.

Anti-microbial Activity:

Punarnava has shown antimicrobial activity against various pathogens, including bacteria and fungi.

Certain compounds present in Punarnava, such as punarnavine, have exhibited antibacterial effects against common pathogens.

Anti-inflammatory Effects in Arthritis:

Punarnava has been investigated for its potential anti-inflammatory effects in arthritis.

Studies suggest that Punarnava extracts may help reduce joint inflammation and alleviate symptoms associated with arthritis.

Other Potential Benefits:

Punarnava has also been studied for its potential in managing conditions like cardiovascular disorders, respiratory ailments, skin disorders, and metabolic imbalances.


Punarnava's traditional and modern therapeutic applications encompass a broad range of health conditions, including liver health, kidney function, inflammation, arthritis, and more. However, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or qualified herbalist before using Punarnava for any specific medical condition or if you are taking medications. They can provide personalized guidance based on your individual health needs.

Punarnava-Containing Products

Punarnava-Containing Products:

Calcizac-I - Ayurvedic Calcium and Iron Tablets:

Calcizac-I is an ayurvedic formulation that combines the benefits of Punarnava with calcium and iron. These tablets are designed to support bone health and address iron deficiency, making them a popular choice for individuals seeking a natural approach to supplementation.

Elzym-L - Ayurvedic Liver Plus Enzyme Syrup:

Elzym-L is an ayurvedic syrup that harnesses the power of Punarnava along with other herbs to promote liver health and improve enzyme functioning. It is specially formulated to support liver detoxification and enhance overall liver function.

Elzym - Ayurvedic Enzyme Syrup:

Elzym is an ayurvedic syrup containing Punarnava and other beneficial herbs. It is known for its enzymatic properties and is often used to aid digestion and improve gastrointestinal health.

Feezac - Ayurvedic Calcium and Iron Syrup:

Feezac is an ayurvedic syrup enriched with Punarnava, calcium, and iron. It is commonly used to address calcium and iron deficiencies, particularly in individuals with low levels of these nutrients.

Heptoliv Plus - Ayurvedic Liver Tonic:

Heptoliv Plus is a range of ayurvedic liver tonics available in 200 ml, 450 ml, and 100 ml bottles. These tonics incorporate Punarnava and other liver-supportive herbs to promote liver health and enhance its natural detoxification processes.

Orthozac Gold 30 Tablets - Ayurvedic Tablets for Arthritis:

Orthozac Gold is an ayurvedic formulation in tablet form that contains Punarnava along with other herbs known for their anti-inflammatory properties. It is specifically formulated to support joint health and provide relief from arthritis symptoms.

Rejuvenator Capsule - Ayurvedic Power Capsules:

Rejuvenator Capsule is a blend of potent herbs, including Punarnava, aimed at promoting overall vitality and rejuvenation. These ayurvedic capsules are known for their adaptogenic properties, helping the body cope with stress and promoting general well-being.

Retake 200 ml - Ayurvedic Multi-Vitamin and Multi-Mineral Syrup:

Retake is an ayurvedic syrup that combines Punarnava with essential vitamins and minerals. It is designed to provide comprehensive nutritional support and boost overall health and vitality.

Saptras Vati - Ayurvedic Immunity Booster:

Saptras Vati is an ayurvedic formulation in tablet form that includes Punarnava as an ingredient. It is renowned for its immune-boosting properties and is commonly used to enhance the body's natural defense mechanisms.

Diabazac Powder and Diabazac Tablets - Ayurvedic Diabetic Formulations:

Diabazac Powder and Diabazac Tablets are ayurvedic formulations containing Punarnava Punarnava and other herbs known for their blood sugar-regulating properties. It is formulated to support individuals with diabetes in managing their condition naturally.

Vatnasak 200 ml - Ayurvedic Vat Dosha Nasak Syrup:

Vatnasak is an ayurvedic syrup that includes Punarnava as an ingredient. It is specifically formulated to pacify the Vata dosha, promoting balance and overall well-being. This syrup may be used to support joint health and manage Vata-related imbalances.

Vatnasak 450 ml - Ayurvedic Vat Dosha Nasak Syrup:

Vatnasak, available in a larger 450 ml bottle, is an ayurvedic syrup formulated to address Vata imbalances. With Punarnava as one of its key ingredients, it aims to promote a healthy balance of the Vata dosha.

These products provide individuals with various options to incorporate Punarnava into their wellness routines, addressing specific health concerns and promoting overall well-being.


Please note that it's important for individuals to consult with healthcare professionals or qualified Ayurvedic practitioners before starting any new herbal products, especially if they have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medications.

Scientific Research:

Punarnava (Boerhaavia Diffusa) has been the subject of several scientific studies, exploring its potential therapeutic applications and validating its traditional uses. Here is an overview of recent research conducted on Punarnava:

Diuretic and Renal Protective Effects:

A study investigated the diuretic and renal protective effects of Punarnava in animal models. The results indicated that Punarnava extracts exhibited significant diuretic activity and helped protect against kidney damage caused by toxic substances.

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Activity:

A study examined the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of Punarnava. The study found that Punarnava extracts exhibited potent anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting pro-inflammatory enzymes and reducing oxidative stress.

Hepatoprotective Effects:

A study evaluated the hepatoprotective effects of Punarnava in animal models. The findings revealed that Punarnava extracts demonstrated significant hepatoprotective properties by reducing liver inflammation and oxidative stress markers.

Anti-cancer Potential:

In recent years, there have been studies exploring the anti-cancer potential of Punarnava. Research demonstrated that Punarnava extracts exhibited cytotoxic effects against cancer cells and had the potential to inhibit tumor growth.

Cardiovascular Health:

Studies have investigated Punarnava's effects on cardiovascular health. Research reported that Punarnava extracts showed protective effects against cardiac hypertrophy and improved heart function in animal models.

Ongoing Research and Emerging Trends:

Ongoing research on Punarnava continues to explore its therapeutic potential and shed light on its mechanisms of action. Some emerging trends and areas of interest include:

Immunomodulatory Effects:

There is growing interest in investigating Punarnava's immunomodulatory effects and its potential in modulating the immune response, particularly in autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.

Novel Extract Formulations:

Researchers are exploring innovative methods of extracting and formulating Punarnava extracts to enhance bioavailability and maximize its therapeutic potential.

Clinical Trials and Human Studies:

While much of the research on Punarnava has been conducted on animal models or in vitro, there is a need for more clinical trials and human studies to validate its efficacy, determine optimal dosages, and assess its safety in different populations.

Standardization and Quality Control:

With the increasing popularity of Punarnava as a medicinal herb, there is a focus on standardizing the extraction methods and quality control processes to ensure consistency and potency of Punarnava-based products.


As research on Punarnava progresses, these ongoing studies and emerging trends hold promise for expanding our understanding of its therapeutic potential and its implications for human health. It is important to stay updated on the latest research findings and consult reputable sources for the most recent information on Punarnava's applications and benefits.

Safety and Precautions:

While Punarnava (Boerhaavia Diffusa) is generally considered safe for most people when used appropriately, it is important to be aware of some side effects, contraindications, and precautions. Here are some important considerations:

Allergic Reactions:

Individuals who are allergic to plants in the Nyctaginaceae family, including Four O'Clock flowers and Purslane, may be at an increased risk of allergic reactions to Punarnava. It is advisable to exercise caution and discontinue use if any allergic symptoms occur.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:

There is limited information available regarding the safety of Punarnava during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is recommended to err on the side of caution and avoid its use during these periods unless specifically advised by a healthcare professional.

Drug Interactions:

Punarnava may interact with certain medications. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you are taking any prescription medications, as they can advise on potential interactions or adjust dosages accordingly.


It is vital to emphasize that the information provided here is not exhaustive, and individual responses to Punarnava may vary. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating Punarnava or any new herbal supplement into your healthcare regimen, particularly if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

Commercial Availability:

Punarnava (Boerhaavia Diffusa) is commercially available in various forms, providing options for individuals to choose the most convenient and suitable option for their needs. Here are some common forms of Punarnava available in the market:

Dried Herbs:

Punarnava is available in the form of dried herbs, where the leaves, roots, or whole plant parts are dried and packaged for use in teas, decoctions, or homemade formulations. These dried herbs can be used for infusions or powdered for various preparations.

Extracts and Tinctures:

Punarnava extracts and tinctures are concentrated forms of the herb, usually obtained by extracting the active constituents using solvents like alcohol or water. These extracts are often available in liquid form and can be added to beverages or taken directly.

Capsules and Tablets:

Punarnava is also available in the form of capsules or tablets, which provide a convenient and standardized dosage. These formulations typically contain Punarnava extracts or powdered herb, allowing for easy consumption and accurate dosing.

Herbal Formulations:

Punarnava is often included as an ingredient in herbal formulations or dietary supplements that target specific health concerns. These formulations may combine Punarnava with other herbs to enhance its benefits and create synergistic effects.


Reputable herbal brands or manufacturers known for producing high-quality Punarnava products may vary depending on your location. It is advisable to look for brands that prioritize quality, adhere to good manufacturing practices, and source their herbs from reliable suppliers.

When purchasing Punarnava products, consider the following factors:

1. Reputation: Look for brands with a good reputation in the herbal supplement industry, known for their commitment to quality and safety.

2. Certifications: Check if the brand or manufacturer has relevant certifications, such as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), which ensure that the product is produced in a controlled and quality-assured environment.

3. Ingredients and Labeling: Read the product labels carefully to ensure that the Punarnava product contains the desired form and concentration of the herb. Check for any additional ingredients or allergens that may be present.

4. Reviews and Recommendations: Consider seeking recommendations from healthcare professionals, herbalists, or trusted sources who have experience with Punarnava products or can provide guidance on reliable brands.


It is important to note that specific brand recommendations may change over time, and availability may vary depending on your location. Conducting thorough research, reading customer reviews, and consulting with healthcare professionals can help you make informed decisions when choosing Punarnava products from reputable brands.


Punarnava (Boerhaavia Diffusa) is a medicinal herb with a rich history of traditional use and growing scientific evidence supporting its potential benefits. Throughout the article, we have explored various aspects of Punarnava, including its botanical description, traditional uses, medicinal properties, recent scientific research, safety precautions, and commercial availability. Here is a summary of the key points discussed:

·        Punarnava is a herb with diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, and renal protective properties.

·        It has been used in traditional medicinal systems like Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Unani for promoting kidney health, liver function, inflammation reduction, and other therapeutic purposes.

·        Scientific research has validated many of Punarnava's traditional uses and highlighted its potential in areas such as diuretic effects, anti-inflammatory activity, hepatoprotection, and anti-cancer potential.

·        Ongoing research is exploring its immunomodulatory effects, novel extract formulations, clinical trials, and standardization for quality control.

·        Precautions should be taken regarding allergies, pregnancy and breastfeeding, drug interactions, and consulting healthcare professionals if there are pre-existing conditions.

·        Punarnava is available in various forms, including dried herbs, extracts, capsules, and herbal formulations, with reputable brands prioritizing quality and safety.

It is important to note that while Punarnava shows promise, individual responses may vary, and professional advice should be sought before incorporating it into healthcare regimens.


Remember, the information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. By staying informed and seeking appropriate guidance, you can make informed decisions regarding the potential benefits and uses of Punarnava in supporting your health and well-being.



The information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for personalized guidance.

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