Punarnava (Boerrharia diffusa) Uses & Benefits

This plant promotes cellular re-incarnation. Punarnava means "tech makes old cells new."

“Punarha” = again.
“Navaha” = new.

The old cell transfers it’s energy (through chemistry) to the new cell. The old body is renewed. Re-incarnation occurs on the cellular level. Cellular memory (“smriti”) in revitalised and restored to perfect health. 

It is a superb herb to rejuvenate the kidneys and enhance lymphatic drainage (prabhava).

Nomenclature

English: Indian/Spreading Hogweed
Sanskrit: Punarnavā
Latin: Boerhaavia diffusa
Sveta Purnanava (Boerhaavia repens) is another variety of Punarnava that has a white flowers. This is more potent and rare.

Its english name “Spreading Hogweed,” is a good description how this plant spreads as a selfish weed across the ground. Farmers usually chuck the plant out in the trash.

Energetics

Rasa (taste): Astringent, Bitter, Sweet. 
Virya (energy): Cooling
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Pungent
Gunas (quality): Dry, light.
Dosha: VPK-, V+ in excess

Ayurvedic Action

Ganas (groups):
Vayasthapana (Anti-Aging)
Svedopaga (Adjuvants to Sudation therapy)
Kasaghna (Cures Cough)

Indications

Kidneys and Lymphatic

Enhances lymphatic drainage and rejuvenates the kidneys. Helps in nephritis or impaired urinary function. Excellent to reduce excess fluids, swelling, oedema and congestion from excess kapha. Thus also helps reduce scrotal and abdomen enlargement.

Digestion

Increases digestive fire (deepana) and stimulates sluggish digestion. It absorbs fluids from the digestive system and can be constipating. It helps remove poisons and worms.

Diabetes

Punarnava’s reduces medas dhatu (fat tissue) and balances mutravaha srotas (urinary channels).

Parts Used

Whole plant, root and leaf.
The leaves can be used as a leafy green in dahl.

“Punarha naveenam karoti”
"Which makes all cells new."

Important Formulations

Punarnavadi Mandoor
One of my formulations of choice also containing iron (mandoora) aplus many more herbs which activate the liver and spleen (ranjaka pitta) to create more rakta (blood cells). This formula not only increases iron in the body but increases our ability to produce and metabolise iron. It also helps in kidney health and diabetes, anaemia, splenomegaly, piles and fever. This formula contains medicinal metals which are completely safe and which you should be educated and informed about before taking them. 

Punarnavadi Guggulu 
For reducing water retention, congestive heart conditions and treating oedematous inflammatory joint diseases and gout.

Sweet Fluid: Sugar Cane Juice

It has always been just "another one of those stalls" at farmers markets across Australia, but ever since I went to India and saw little motorised sugar cane juicers every few hundred meters in the street, I started to incorporate this juice into my fluids diet.

Sure I can comfortably drink one of the highest sources of hydration: Coconut Water, daily in south India (because they are relatively cheap), but my taste buds and channels found my new discovery. It was a lot more charming and exciting: Cold Pressed Sugar Cane Juice!

Due to the significance in price difference between this product in India and Australia, (goes for about 30 cents a cup in India), I was able to indulge in drinking a few cups daily. So I tested how my body reacted to it...

 

Medicinal qualities

  • Very hydrating and cooling for the body. Great in summer and for pitta body types.
  • Good for the liver.
  • Diuretic: great cleanser for kidneys and anyone experiencing oliguria (scanty urination) or dysuria (painful urination).

Isn't it to high in sugar?

Sugar cane juice is definitely high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation (not every day, as I realised).

It is recommended to use it for more medicinal effects as listed above, and to cool down on super hot days. A good drink in summer.

Caution

 

  • Make sure it is cleaned with good water because fungi and some pollution may be present, especially around Indian sugar cane fields.
  • Diabetics and people with high blood sugar should avoid it.
  • Don't mix with other foods including lemon, lime, ginger as it further ferments to make it incompatible. 

Feature photo: a sugar cane market i visited in the south Indian town, Tiruvannamalai.