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Boerhaavia diffusa is a member of Nyctaginaceae plant family. This creeping herb is found in many warm parts of the earth, mainly throughout India and ascending to 2,300m altitude in the hot Himalayan valleys, Brazil, Iran, and Nigeria etc. This wide range is explained by its small fruit, which are very sticky and grow a few inches off the ground, ideally placed to latch on to small migratory birds as they walk by.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Boerhavia diffusa
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Punarnava, Rakta punarnava Bengali : Rakta punarnava, Swetpunya Gujarati : Dholisaturdi, Satodi Hindi : Vishkhapara, Santha, Gahadpurna Malayalam : Thumithathma, Titudamma Marathi : Raktavasu, Tambadivasu, Ghetuli, Punarnava Kannada : Sanadika, Adakaputtana gida, Tamil : Mukaratte-kirei Telugu : Atikamamidi, Giligeru,Tellaattatamamidi
Chemical Constituents
Major constituents include Punarnavoside, an antifrinolytic glycoside, 0.03-0.05%, Alkaloids. Other constituents are rotenoids viz., boeravinones A,B,C,D& E; lignans viz., liridoderdin and syringaresinol mono -D-glucoside; flavones and sterols; an isofuroxanthone, boeravine and hypoxanthine-9-L-arabinofuranoside.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying a quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content by specifying a quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the marker substances or the ‘active’ ingredient. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herb is to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E.coli which are causative agent for various gastro-intestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersentivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
In action Boerhaavia diffusa is antihelmintic, aphrodisiac, cardiac-stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, febrifuge and laxative, ophthalmic, stomachic in jaundice, and tonic. It is useful in leucorrhoea, inflammation, asthma, constipation, cough and cold, dropsical swellings, eye and heart troubles, jaundice, and gonorrhoea. Boerhaavia diffusa was found active against almost all Gram-negative bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium. Salmonella typhi, Enterobacteraerogenes and Klebsiella pneumoniae and therefore can serve as a broad spectrum antibacterial agent against Gram-negative bacteria. The Gram-positive bacteria sensitive to this plant decoction was Enterococcus faecalls. In case of fungi Candida glabrata was found highly sensitive. The studies indicate that Boerhaavia diffusa has broad spectrum antimicrobial potential against antibiotic resistant microorganisms. Extract of Boerhaavia diffusa leaves has also showed antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties in pharmacological models. Punarnavine, an alkaloid isolated from Boerhaavia diffusa has been shown in vitro anticancer, antiestrogenic antiamoebic and immunomodulatory activity
Health Benefits
Punarnava is taken in herbal medicine for pain relief and other uses. It is believed to improve and protect eyesight. Boerhavia diffusa has diuretic properties and can be used in diabetes to lower blood sugar. Boerhaavia diffusa the whole plant and the root have been used in medicine for a variety of conditions; however, it is most widely used in Ayurveda for treating renal and urinary problems. Punarnava is a well known diuretic, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory agent in urinary tract infections. The plant has traditionally been used to reduce edema associated with kidney, heart, gastrointestinal tract disorders, and general debility. The roots have anti-convulsant, analgesic, laxative and expectorant properties. It has both diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties and therefore is useful in inflammatory renal diseases. The plant has an official status in the Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia, 2002, as a diuretic and hepato-protective agent.
Research References
• Pubmed, a wellknown site has listed important studies going on around the world in various universities. These include….. 1. An in vitro study on antiproliferative and antiestrogenic effects of Boerhaavia diffusa L. extracts.(Sreeja S, Sreeja S.J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Nov 12; 126(2):221-5. Epub 2009 Aug 31.PMID: 19723573). 2. Immunomodulatory activities of Punarnavine, an alkaloid from Boerhaavia diffusa.(Manu KA, Kuttan G.Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2009; 31 (3):377-87.PMID: 19555203). 3. Anti-metastatic potential of Punarnavine, an alkaloid from Boerhaavia diffusa Linn.(Manu KA, Kuttan G.Immunobiology. 2009;214(4):245-55. Epub 2008 Dec 5.PMID: 19171408). 4. Boerhaavia diffusa stimulates cell-mediated immune response by upregulating IL-2 and downregulating the pro-inflammatory cytokines and GM-CSF in B16F-10 metastatic melanoma bearing mice.(Manu KA, Kuttan G.J Exp Ther Oncol. 2008;7(1):17-29.PMID: 18472639). 5. Effect of Punarnavine, an alkaloid from Boerhaavia diffusa, on cell-mediated immune responses and TIMP-1 in B16F-10 metastatic melanoma-bearing mice.(Manu KA, Kuttan G.Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2007; 29(3-4):569-86.PMID: 18075866). 6. Studies on the protective effects of Boerhaavia diffusa L. against gamma radiation induced damage in mice.(Manu KA, Leyon PV, Kuttan G.Integr Cancer Ther. 2007 Dec; 6(4):381-8.PMID: 18048886). 7. Antifungal activity of Boerhavia diffusa against some dermatophytic species of Microsporum.(Agrawal A, Srivastava S, Srivastava MM.Hindustan Antibiot Bull. 2003 Feb-2004 Nov; 45-46(1-4):1-4.PMID: 16281821). 8. Isolation of new rotenoids from Boerhaavia diffusa and evaluation of their effect on intestinal motility.(Borrelli F, Milic N, Ascione V, Capasso R, Izzo AA, Capasso F, Petrucci F, Valente R, Fattorusso E, Taglialatela-Scafati O.Planta Med. 2005 Oct;71(10):928-32.PMID: 16254824). 1. Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia (Revised New Edition 2002). 2. Standardization of Botanicals, Volume 2- By Dr. V. Rajpal. 3.