It has many names, and probably, you haven’t heard any of them before. Boarhavia Diffusa is also known as Punarnava or Red Spiderling.
But what is Boarhavia Diffusa? And what are Boarhavia Diffusa’s benefits?
Everything you need to know about Boarhavia Diffusa and its benefits will be explained in this article, so stay with me.
What is Boarhavia Diffusa
Boerhavia diffusa – B. B. diffusa – from the family of the miraculous plants (Nyctaginaceae) is an herbaceous plant found in many regions of the world.
But it is mainly known from the Indian-Asian region, where it is often used in Ayurvedic medicine (towards Rasayana / “anti-aging”).
Due to its soothing and healing benefits for the treatment of pain, digestive problems, jaundice, menstrual problems, liver and kidney problems and inflammation is used and consumed by the tribes living there as “vegetables”.
It owes its name to an 18th-century Dutch physician named Hermann Boerhaave. In Ayurveda, the name Punarnava stands for something like “the one that renews the body” (bringing the youth).
Benefits of Boerhavia Diffusa
Boerhavia Diffusa has the following benefits:
- Means for cancer prevention
- To reduce inflammation
- For the treatment of indigestion
- For blood sugar regulation
- For drainage
B.Diffusa is said to have anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant, anti-estrogenic benefits, dehydrating to the body and inhibiting the proliferation of immune cells (which may be beneficial in the course of a hyperactive immune system) and cancer cells.
The root contains a number of different components that are responsible for the benefits, including the alkaloid punavavine, punarnavosides, rotenoids (Boeravinones AF), flavonoids, amino acids, lignans (liriodendrons), ?-sitosterols, lignoceric acid, esacosanoic acid, stearic acid and ursolic acid, Kaempferol, and Quercetin.
In addition, B. Diffusa contains small amounts of vitamin E and C, zinc and selenium. The leaves of the plant have a higher phenol content than the roots.
Studies on Boerhavia Diffusa’s Benefits
In Indian and Caribbean folk medicine Boerhavia Diffusa is used for pain reduction – an effect that has already been demonstrated, for example, in mice that received a dried powder or the juice of the plant (and a reduction in pain by up to 50% experienced).
Boerhavia diffusa is also used to relieve pain in Ayurvedic medicine.
Granted, Boerhavia diffusa does not seem to be as potent as morphine when it comes to the analgesic effect, but it is believed that the mechanism of action is similar.
Treatment of epilepsy
The root contains agents that are able to block the calcium channels, so Boerhavia diffusa could play a potential role in the treatment of epilepsy.
Injection of a methanol extract (500-2000 mg/kg) or equivalent extract of higher liridendrin content (10-40 mg/kg, potent calcium channel blocker) shows a dose-dependent effect in the prevention of epileptic seizures similar to a 1mg / kg diazepam dose.
Meanwhile, a water-based Boerhavia diffusa extract was administered by Pari / Amarnath Satheesh (2004) to normal and diabetic rats (200mg / kg) over a 4-week period.
The researchers analyzed levels of blood sugar and liver enzymes and found that blood glucose levels in both healthy and diabetic rats were reduced and plasma insulin levels increased. At the same time, the level of glycated hemoglobin decreased while the activity of various liver enzymes including hexokinase, glucose-6-phosphatase, and fructose-6-phosphatase increased significantly (also in the healthy and diabetic rats).
All in all, the scientists find that the Boerhavia diffusa extract achieved an effect similar to the anti-diabetic drug glibenclamide (at a dose of 600 microg / kg).
Other studies confirm the anti-diabetic effect of Boerhavia diffusa in rats , e.g. the study by Singh et al. (2011), in which diabetic rats were given oral B.diffusa (500mg / kg) ethanol extract over a period of 30 days and their glycemic control improved on average by up to 29%. The researchers conclude that the effect is similar to that of metformin (500mg / kg).
The punarnavine and the flavonoid eupalitin contained in Boerhavia Diffusa appear to have immunomodulatory properties. Overall, the extract appears to have an immunosuppressive (containment) effect, although it is able to improve the white blood cell count (adaptive immune system).
Desai et al. (2011) tested such a hypothesis in a rat experiment, confronting rodents with stress. Without extract, an imbalance of various biochemical parameters was manifested, including levels of glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, SGOT and SGPT. However, when animals were given a Boerhavia diffusa extract, they showed an almost normal value for all parameters.
The alkaloid punarnavine contained in Boerhavia diffusa also appears to benefit an anti-carcinogenic effect, which has been demonstrated in various rat experimental models.
Reduced metastasis is attributed to the immunomodulatory effect (strengthening the adaptive immune system by increasing NK activity). The rats treated with Punarnavine lived on average 240-257% longer than the control animals.
In vitro experiments have shown that Boerhavia diffusa has an anti-oxidative effect in a similar league as vitamin C , of which the redoid boerhavinone G appears to be the most effective radical scavenger.
Kidney Protection & Diuresis
Thanks to its diuretic properties (ie it has a dehydrating effect), Boerhavia diffusa is able to reduce the risk of kidney stones by reducing the number and size of crystals (calcium oxalate monohydrates and dihydrates) (from 32 to 100 mg / mL), which has also been shown in experiments on rats (at 100-200 mg / mL).
Of course, one wonders now how strong the diuresis effect is – one should always expect an increase of 72.3 to 220% at a dosage of 16-32 mg / kg.
Aromatase is the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, which is often a piquant affair for men in particular, as too much estrogen leads to a feminization of the body.
Boerhavia diffusa appears to have an anti-estrogenic benefits by preventing signaling molecules from docking with estrogen prescriptions.
Boerhavia Diffusa Dosage & Timing
In the morning on an empty stomach or 30-60 minutes pre-workout with caffeinated drinks (preferably 30-60 minutes before a fixed meal).
The usual dosage of Boerhavia diffusa is anywhere within the range of 200-400 mg/kg, although quantities of 1,000 mg/kg are not uncommon in animal experiments. According to Examine.com, the corresponding dosage in humans is approximately 32-64 mg/kg or
- … for a person weighing about 70kg: 2,200 – 4,300 mg
- … for a person weighing about 90 kg: 2,900 – 5,800 mg
- … for a person weighing about 115 kg: 3,600 – 7,200 mg
Experience has shown, that with 300 – 1.000mg in combination with other active ingredients (such as piperine and pine bark extract) best benefits are achieved in terms of diuresis, anti-oxidative and adaptogenic effect.
Most experiments with Boerhavia diffusa were performed either in cell culture (in vitro) or on rodents. To date, there are no known side effects.
Since Boerhavia diffusa has been used for many centuries in Ayurvedic medicine (and also outside) for the treatment of various symptoms in humans – and that also higher doses – it is unlikely that it unfolds serious negative side effects.
Conclusion: Boerhavia Diffusa Benefits
Boerhavia diffusa is another yet not well-known plant that can have great benefits. While it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for decades, researched just tapped into the field.
My recommendation, if you are into medical plants and if you suffer any issues that Boerhavia diffusa can be beneficial for, give it a try. You really can’t do much wrong.