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Punanrnava or Santhi (Boerhaavia diffusa Linn.)

Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM)
28-A, Geeta Nagar, Raipur - 492001 India

Copyright © 2004. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.

Scientific Name: Boerhaavia diffusa Linn. Syn. B. repens; B. repens var. diffusa
Family: Nyctaginaceae
Family Name: Hog weed, Horse Purslane
Common Indian Names
Gujarati: Dholia-saturdo, Moto-satoda.
Hindi: Snathikari
Canarese: Kommegida
Marathi: Tambadivasu
Sanskrit: Punarnava, Raktakanda, Shothaghni, Varshabhu
Bengali: Punurnava
Tamil: Mukaratee-Kirei
Telugu: Punernava

Habitat: Grows as common weed.

Botanical Description: Please see Table 1

Useful Parts: Root, leaves and seeds.

Medicinal Uses: According to Ayurveda, Punarnava is bitter, cooling, astringent to bowels, useful in biliousness, blood impurities, leucorrhoea, anaemia, inflammations, heart diseases, asthma, alternatives etc. The leaves are useful in dyspepsia, tumours, spleen enlargement, abdominal pains. According to Unani system of medicine, the leaves are appetizer, alexiteric, useful in opthalmia, in joint pains. Seeds are tonic expectorant, carminative, useful in lumbago, scabies. The seeds are considered as promising blood purifier.

Traditional Medicinal Uses: In many parts of India, different parts of Punarnava are used as folk medicine.

Ayurveda Properties: Punarnavastaka, Punaravataila, Punarnavaleha etc.

Chemical Constituents: Punarnava contains b-Sitosterol, a-2-sitosterol, palmitic acid, ester of b-sitosterol, tetracosanoic, hexacosonoic, stearic, arachidic acid, urosilic acid, Hentriacontane, b-Ecdysone, triacontanol etc.

Table 1. Major differences between B. diffusa and Boerhaavia elegans

Characters Boerhaavia diffusa Boerhaavia elegans
Plant A perennial herb from a fusiform root An erect glabrous shrub
Stem Prostrate, decumbent or ascending, 4-10 dm long, rather slender, divaricately branched Annual, woody below, glabrous above, thinly pubescent near the base, terete
Leaves Opposite or sub-opposite, two of a node unequal, broadly ovate or suborbicular, obtuse to rounded or subcordate at the base. Linear-oblong or oblong-lanceolate, obtuse and often mucronulate at the apex
Flowers In pendunculate, glomerulate clusters arranged in slender, long stalkcked, axillary or terminal corymbs In large, lax, much branched, leafless, glabrous compound cymes above the leaves
Fruit Obovoid or sub-ellipsoid, rounded above, slightly cuneate, below, broadly and bluntly 5-ribbed, very glandular throughout  
Flowering and Fruiting Throughout the year in Indian conditions September to December in Indian conditions

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