Punarnava: An Ayurvedic Herb for Kidney Health, Congestion, Water Retention and all Things Kapha

punarnava rootAlthough Punarnava has not made its way mainstream here in the West, it is one of the most widely used herbs for Kapha imbalances in the world of Ayurveda.  Punarnava itself means “one that renews, repairs and regenerates the tissues”, and therefore it is also classified as a Rasayana or rejuvenative herb.  Punarnava is specific for both kidney and urinary issues, as well as edema (fluid retention), heart conditions, excessive weight and obesity, congestion, sluggish digestion and glaucoma; all of which can be classified under Kapha disorders.

Punarnava is said to be tridoshic by nature, meaning it is balancing to all three doshas (Ayurvedic body-types); however, when used in excess it can be provoking to Pitta due to its heating energy and provoking to Vata due to the drying action and bitter taste it provides.  Overall Punarnava is fairly gentle, and when taken in the appropriate circumstances, it can be used in larger dosages in an Ayurvedic herbal formula.

Ayurvedic Properties of Punarnava

Health Benefits of Punarnava:

  • Balances Kapha dosha
  • Reduces overall water retention and edema
  • Respiratory tonic
  • Relieves cough and congestion
  • Heart tonic; useful in all cardiac issues with congestion or edema
  • Treats glaucoma, nocturnal blindness and general intraocular pressure
  • Treats a sluggish digestion and metabolism
  • Reduces heavy menstruation and clotting
  • Beneficial in uterine fibroids
  • Increases kidney health; useful in low kidney energy, kidney stones, infection and inflammation
  • Alleviates diarrhea
  • Rejuvenates and repairs the tissues
  • Increases Ojas
  • Promotes sexual potency
  • Anti-inflammatory       
  • Promotes sweating
  • Reduces fever
  • Treats urinary issues including UTI and urinary stones
  • Treats Kapha-type arthritis involving swelling and fluid retention

How to use Punarnava

For weight loss:

Take 1/2 tsp of Punarnava and 1/4 tsp of Trikatu Churna, mixed in 1/2 cup of warm water with 1 tsp of honey.  Steep for 5 minutes, stir well and drink without straining.  Take this three times daily, before each meal. 

For kidney issues:

Take 1/2 tsp of Punarnavadi Guggulu three times daily, mixed in 1/2 cup of warm water.  Steep for 5 minutes, stir well and drink without straining. 

For Urinary Tract Infections:

Take 1/4 tsp each of Punarnava, Gokshura and Coriander powder plus 1/8 tsp of Neem.  Mix in 1/2 cup of warm water and steep for 5 minutes.  Do not strain.  Take this three times daily before meals during the UTI and several days after to prevent a reoccurring infection. 

***For severe UTI’s take this formula in 1/2 to 1 cup of unsweetened pomegranate or cranberry juice.

For water retention and edema:

Take 1/4 tsp each of Punarnava and Gokshura powder.  Mix in 1/2 cup of plain ginger tea and take three times daily, before meals.  For extreme fluid retention, take this mixture internally while applying a paste made out of equal portions of Punarnava and Ginger powder locally on the site of retention, leaving it on for 20-30 minutes.   

For heavy menstruation, clotting and uterine fibroids:

Take 1/2 tsp of Punarnava and 1/4 tsp of Ashoka powder.  Mix this in 1/2 cup of warm water and add 1-2 Tbsp of aloe vera with a pinch of Pippali powder (optional).  Take this three times daily before meals.  Take this continuously throughout the entire month until the symptoms have been relieved.      

For glaucoma and nighttime blindness:

Take 1/2 tsp of Punarnava mixed in 1/2 tsp of Triphala Ghrita.  Mix this in 1/2 cup of warm water until the ghee has melted completely.  Take this three times daily before meals. 

For extreme cases, simultaneously make an eye wash using Punarnava tea (strain the herbs and cool) and flush the eye using an eye cup each morning and night.   

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