Boerhavia diffusa Linn

Synonym ► B. repens Linn. B. procumbens Roxb.

Family ► Nyctaginaceae.

Habitat ► Throughout India as a weed.

English ► Horse-purslane, Hogweed.

Ayurvedic ► Rakta-punarnavaa, Punarnavaa, Katthilla, Shophaghni, Shothaghni. Varshaabhu (also equated with Trianthema portu-lacastrum Linn., which exhibits anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic activity).

Unani ► Itsit, Bishkhaparaa.

Siddha/Tamil ► Mookkirattai.

Action ► Diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, spasmolytic, antibacterial (used for inflammatory renal diseases, nephrotic syndrome, in cases of ascites resulting from early cirrhosis of liver and chronic peritonitis, dropsy associated with chronic Bright's diseases, for serum uric acid levels). Root—anticon-vulsant, analgesic, expectorant, CNS depressant, laxative, diuretic, abortifacient.

Key application ► As diuretic, hepatoprotective. (Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

B. repanda, synonym B. chinensis Linn., roots exhibited antihepatotox-ic activity against carbon tetrachloride galactosamine-and paracetamol-induced intoxication in rats. Powdered root gave encouraging results in spermatorrhoea and leucorrhoea.

The chloroform and methanolic extracts of the roots and aerial parts of B. diffusa also exhibited antihepatotox-ic activity against carbon tetrachloride-induced intoxication in rats.

Punarnavaa is official in IP as a diuretic. The diuretic action of the drug is attributed to the presence of xanthone, beta-ecdysone. Flavonoid, arbinofura-noside, present in the drug, was found to lower serum uric acid in experimental animals, as also in humans.

Punarnavaa has been reported to increase serum protein level and reduce urinary protein extraction in clinical trials in patients suffering with nephrotic syndrome. The activity is attributed to the presence of rotenoids in various parts of the plant.

An antifibrinolytic agent, punar-navoside, has been found to stop IUCD-induced bleeding in monkeys. The drug contains quinolizidine alkaloids.

Dosage ► Whole plant—20-30 g for decoction (API Vol. I); root—1-3 g powder; 10-20 ml fresh juice. (API Vol. III.)

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