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Punarnava - The Ayurvedic Remedy for Kidney Health

Punarnava: The Ayurvedic Remedy for Kidney Health and Fluid Retention

Your kidneys play a vital role in maintaining the balance of fluids in your body, regulating blood pressure, and filtering waste from your blood.

When your kidneys aren’t functioning optimally, it can lead to a range of health issues, including fluid retention, swelling, and more serious conditions like kidney disease.

Fortunately, Ayurveda offers a range of remedies for supporting kidney health and fluid balance, including the powerful herb Punarnava.

With its potent anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties, Punarnava has been used for centuries to promote optimal kidney function and prevent fluid retention.

In this article, we’ll explore

  • The Benefits of Punarnava for Renal Health
  • The unique combination of herbs and minerals that makes it so powerful
  • How it can help flush out excess fluids and toxins, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the kidneys

If you’re struggling to improve your kidney health, this guide is for you.

Ready to dive in? Let’s understand the science behind Punarnava.

Understanding The Ayurvedic Principles for Kidney Health and Fluid Balance

Ayurvedic Principles for Kidney Health
Source: Canva

Ayurveda recognizes the Mutravaha Srotas, or Urinary System, as an important channel of elimination in the body.

The mutravaha srotas is responsible for the formation and elimination of urine, and it includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

It is governed by the doshas, or the three fundamental energies that regulate all bodily functions: vata, pitta, and kapha.

Imbalances in any of these doshas can affect the health of the mutravaha srotas and lead to problems such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and other kidney-related disorders.

In particular, the balance of vata dosha is important for the proper functioning of the mutravaha srotas.

  • Pitta  fire element: Can be responsible for burning sensations
  • Kapha  water and earth element: Linked with oedema/swellings or water retention

Vata is responsible for movement and flow in the body, and it governs the movement of fluids and waste products in the urinary system. When vata is imbalanced, it can cause blockages or stagnation in the urinary system, leading to problems such as urinary retention or incontinence.

Thus, maintaining the health of the mutravaha srotas is important for overall health and wellbeing. This includes maintaining proper fluid balance in the body, which is essential for the proper functioning of the kidneys. 

Ayurvedic tips for supporting kidney health and fluid balance

Ayurvedic tips for supporting kidney health
Source: Canva

Here are some specific Ayurvedic tips for supporting kidney health and fluid balance:

1. Drink plenty of fluids

Drinking enough water and other fluids is important for maintaining proper hydration and supporting the health of the kidneys. Aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day, and consider drinking herbal teas or coconut water for additional hydration. In case of any prevalent kidney issue do follow your doctors instructions about restricting the quantity of water to be consumed. 1

2. Avoid processed and packaged foods

Processed and packaged foods are often high in sodium 2 and other additives that can be harmful to the kidneys and disrupt fluid balance. Instead, focus on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

3. Reduce intake of caffeine and alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol3 can both dehydrate the body and put extra strain on the kidneys. Limit your intake of these substances and consider switching to herbal teas or non-alcoholic beverages.

4. Practice yoga and pranayama

Yoga and pranayama (breathing exercises) can be beneficial for supporting the health of the kidneys and balancing the doshas. Certain yoga postures such as the forward bend and twist can help stimulate the kidneys and improve circulation 4, while pranayama techniques such as kapalabhati and nadi shodhana can help balance the doshas and improve overall health.

5. Use kidney-supportive herbs and spices

Ayurveda recommends a number of herbs and spices that can be beneficial for the kidneys, such as Gokharu, punarnava, 5, Turmeric, Ginger, Dandelion root, and Nettle leaf. These herbs can be used in cooking or taken as supplements, but it’s important to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before starting any new supplements.

6. Get enough sleep and manage stress

Adequate sleep and stress management are both important for supporting overall health and the health of the kidneys. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and consider practices such as meditation, deep breathing, or journaling to help manage stress levels.

The traditional uses of Punarnava in Ayurvedic medicine

Punarnava
Source: Canva

Punarnava, which is also called Boerhavia Diffusa, is an herb that is often used in Ayurvedic medicine because it has many health benefits.

In Ayurveda, punarnava is considered a rasayana, which means that it is a herb that promotes health and well-being all over the body.

Punarnava has been used for a long time to treat a number of health problems, such as kidney and urinary tract problems, edema (when too much fluid stays in the body), and inflammation.

One of the key traditional uses of punarnava in Ayurvedic medicine is for kidney health. Punarnava is thought to be a diuretic, which means it can help the body get rid of extra fluids and toxins by making you pee more.This can be especially helpful for people with problems with their kidneys or urinary tracts because it can help reduce swelling and inflammation and improve kidney function overall.

In addition to making you pee more, punarnava has also been shown to reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage.This can help lower inflammation in the kidneys and protect them from oxidative damage, which can lead to kidney disease and other health problems.

Scientific evidence to support the use of Punarnava for kidney health and fluid retention

Punarnava for kidney health
Source: Canva

Several scientific studies have looked into the kidney health and fluid retention benefits of punarnava.

Here are some of the key findings:

1. Diuretic properties

Some researches have investigated the diuretic activity of Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa) using rats as experimental subjects, and the diuretic effect of the plant extract was measured by determining the volume of urine excreted by the rats. The study concluded that Punarnava has potential as a natural diuretic agent and could be explored further for its therapeutic use in conditions related to fluid retention. 6

2. Anti-inflammatory effects

Inflammation can contribute to the development and progression of kidney disease. As per the researchers concluded that punarnava could potentially be used as a natural remedy for kidney disease. 7

3. Antioxidant effects

Oxidative stress can also contribute to kidney damage and disease. Punarnava may be able to prevent kidney damage from oxidative stress, according to the researchers’ findings. 8

4. Edema treatment

In another study, it was found that punarnava can help reduce pain due to edema. The researchers noted that punarnava was well-tolerated and had no significant side effects.9

Different forms of Punarnava available

Different forms of Punarnava
Source: Canva

Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa) is available in various forms, including powder, capsules, teas, and tinctures. Each form has its own unique benefits and can be used for different purposes.

Here are some of the different forms of punarnava and their respective benefits:

1. Punarnava powder

Punarnava powder is made by grinding the dried roots and leaves of the punarnava plant into a fine powder. In Ayurvedic medicine, this type of punarnava is often used because it helps the body get rid of waste, reduces inflammation, and fights free radicals. It can be added to water, milk, or other beverages and taken orally.

2. Punarnava capsules

Punarnava capsules contain concentrated doses of punarnava extract in a convenient and easy-to-swallow form. They are commonly used to support kidney health, treat fluid retention, and promote overall health and wellbeing. Punarnava capsules may also be combined with other herbs and supplements for enhanced health benefits.

3. Punarnava tea

The process for making punarnava tea involves steeping dried punarnava leaves and roots in hot water. People often use this type of punarnava as a natural diuretic to help get rid of extra fluids and toxins from the body.Punarnava tea is also rich in antioxidants and can help protect against oxidative stress.

4. Punarnava tincture

Punarnava tincture is made by letting punarnava sit in alcohol or a mixture of water and alcohol for a while to get the active compounds out. This type of punarnava is often used because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It may help improve kidney health, treat edema, and reduce inflammation all over the body.

In general, the choice of which form of punarnava to use will depend on the individual’s needs and preferences.

For example, someone who prefers to take supplements may opt for punarnava capsules, while someone who enjoys drinking tea may choose punarnava tea.

Before using punarnava or any other natural remedy to treat a health problem, it’s important to talk to a qualified doctor or Ayurvedic practitioner. 

Recommended dosages for each form of Punarnava based on Ayurvedic principles

Recommended dosages for each form of Punarnava
Source: Canva

The recommended dosage of Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa) may vary depending on the form of the herb and the individual’s health condition, age, and other factors.

Here are some general recommended dosages for each form of Punarnava based on Ayurvedic principles:

1. Punarnava powder

Most people should take between 1 and 3 grams of punarnava powder per day, split up into smaller amounts.The powder can be mixed with water or other liquids and taken orally.

2. Punarnava capsules

The recommended amount of punarnava capsules can change based on the brand and the amount of extract in the capsules.Generally, it is recommended to take 1-2 capsules, 2-3 times per day, or as directed by a healthcare provider.

3. Punarnava tea

The recommended dosage of punarnava tea is 1-2 cups per day, brewed with 1-2 teaspoons of dried punarnava leaves or roots steeped in hot water for 10-15 minutes.

4. Punarnava tincture

The recommended amount of punarnava tincture can change depending on how strong the extract is and how healthy the person is. Generally, it is recommended to take 20–30 drops of the tincture, diluted in water or other liquids, 2-3 times per day.

It’s important to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare provider before taking Punarnava or any other herbal remedy. They can help determine the appropriate dosage based on your individual needs and health condition.

Ayurvedic Punarnava Recipes

Ayurvedic Punarnava Recipes
Source: Canva

Here are a few Ayurvedic recipes that incorporate Punarnava and their benefits:

1. Punarnava Tea:

Ingredients to Prepare

  • 1 teaspoon Punarnava Powder
  • 1 cup water

Directions to Make it

  • Boil water in a pan.
  • Add Punarnava powder to the water and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Strain the tea and serve.

Principle Behind it

The Ayurvedic principle behind Punarnava tea is that it helps in reducing water retention in the body, thereby supporting healthy kidney function and fluid balance. Punarnava is known to have diuretic properties and helps in flushing out excess water from the body.

2. Punarnava and Cucumber Salad

Ingredients to Prepare

  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Punarnava leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions to Make it

  • Combine the sliced cucumber, Punarnava leaves, cilantro, and red onion in a bowl.
  • Drizzle the lime juice over the mixture and season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss everything together until well combined.
  • Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Principle Behind it

Cucumbers are known for their cooling and hydrating properties, while Punarnava helps to eliminate excess fluids from the body. This salad is a great way to support kidney health and fluid balance by providing the body with hydration and diuretic properties. The lime juice adds a refreshing citrus flavour and helps to alkalize the body, which is important for kidney health.

3. Punarnava and Ginger Soup

Ingredients to Prepare

  • 1 cup chopped fresh Punarnava leaves
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions to Make it

  • Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped Punarnava leaves and grated ginger to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable broth to the pot and bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  • Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the soup hot.

Principle Behind it

Ginger is a warming spice that helps to stimulate digestion and increase circulation, while Punarnava helps to eliminate excess fluids from the body. This soup is a great way to support kidney health and fluid balance by providing the body with warming and diuretic properties. The vegetable broth adds additional hydration to the body, while the ghee or coconut oil helps to nourish the tissues and promote healthy digestion.

The precautions to take when using Punarnava based on Ayurvedic principles

Punarnava precautions
Source: Canva

Here’s a quick demonstration using a chart but it’s important to note that these precautions are not exhaustive and individuals may need to take additional precautions depending on their individual health status and needs. 

Therefore, it’s essential to always consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before using Punarnava or any other natural remedy to ensure it is safe and effective for individual needs.

PrecautionsDescription
Pregnancy and breastfeedingPregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using Punarnava, as there is not enough scientific evidence to support its safety during these times.
Medical conditionsIndividuals with medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, or kidney disease should consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before using Punarnava, as it may worsen these conditions or interact with medications.
AllergiesIndividuals with known allergies to Punarnava or other plants in the Nyctaginaceae family should avoid using Punarnava.
DosageFollow the recommended dosage instructions carefully, as taking too much Punarnava can lead to side effects such as diarrhoea or dehydration. Start with a small dosage and gradually increase as tolerated.
Quality and purityEnsure that Punarnava supplements or products are of high quality and purity to avoid contamination with heavy metals or other harmful substances. Look for products that are certified by reputable organisations.

Summarising

Punarnava is an herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine for its diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. Ayurvedic principles emphasise the importance of maintaining fluid balance and kidney health for overall health and well-being. 

Using natural remedies like Punarnava can help support the body’s natural healing processes and reduce the risk of harmful side effects often associated with conventional treatments. 

However, it is important to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before using Punarnava or any other natural remedy to ensure it is safe and effective for individual needs. 

By incorporating Ayurvedic principles and natural remedies like Brahmi into daily routines, individuals can promote optimal health and well-being.

How does Punarnava help improve kidney health?

Punarnava is known to have diuretic properties, which means it helps the kidneys flush out excess fluids and toxins from the body. This can help improve kidney function and reduce the risk of developing kidney-related health issues.

Can Punarnava help with edema or fluid retention?

Yes, Punarnava is known to have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling and inflammation, which can be beneficial for people who experience edema or fluid retention due to various reasons, including kidney-related issues.

How is Punarnava typically consumed or used in Ayurvedic treatments?

Punarnava is usually consumed in the form of a tea or a supplement, and it can also be used as an ingredient in Ayurvedic formulations. In Ayurvedic treatments, Punarnava is often combined with other herbs or ingredients to enhance its effectiveness for various health conditions, including kidney-related issues and fluid retention. However, it is important to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before using Punarnava or any other herbal remedy for health purposes.

References

  1. Clark, W. F., Sontrop, J. M., Moist, L., & Huang, S. H. (2015). Increasing Water Intake in Chronic Kidney Disease: Why? Safe? Possible?. Annals of nutrition & metabolism66 Suppl 3, 18–21. https://doi.org/10.1159/000381241[]
  2. Singh, M., & Chandorkar, S. (2018). Is sodium and potassium content of commonly consumed processed packaged foods a cause of concern?. Food chemistry238, 117–124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.11.108[]
  3. Epstein M. (1997). Alcohol’s impact on kidney function. Alcohol health and research world21(1), 84–92.[]
  4. Pandey, R. K., Arya, T. V., Kumar, A., & Yadav, A. (2017). Effects of 6 months yoga program on renal functions and quality of life in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease. International journal of yoga10(1), 3–8. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-6131.186158[]
  5. Sumathi, T., & Niranjali Devaraj, S. (2009). Effect of Bacopa monniera on liver and kidney toxicity in chronic use of opioids. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology16(10), 897–903. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2009.03.005[]
  6. Gaitonde, B. B., Kulkarni, H. J., & Nabar, S. D. (1974). Diuretic activity of punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa). Bulletins of the Haffkine Institute (Bombay, India), 2(1), 24-27.[]
  7. Prashanth, G. S., Baghel, M. S., Ravishankar, B., Gupta, S. N., & Mehta, M. P. (2010). A clinical comparative study of the management of chronic renal failure with Punarnavadi compound. Ayu, 31(2), 185–192. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-8520.72388[]
  8. Pareta, S. K., Patra, K. C., Mazumder, P. M., & Sasmal, D. (2011). Aqueous extract of Boerhaavia diffusa root ameliorates ethylene glycol-induced hyperoxaluric oxidative stress and renal injury in rat kidney. Pharmaceutical biology, 49(12), 1224–1233. https://doi.org/10.3109/13880209.2011.581671[]
  9. Hiruma-Lima, C. A., Gracioso, J. S., Bighetti, E. J., Germonsén Robineou, L., & Souza Brito, A. R. (2000). The juice of fresh leaves of Boerhaavia diffusa L. (Nyctaginaceae) markedly reduces pain in mice. Journal of ethnopharmacology71(1-2), 267–274. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0378-8741(00)00178-1[]