There are some plants you see so often that they go unnoticed, unexamined, and neglected. The herb I'm sharing with you today is one of those. Boerhaavia diffusa, more commonly called either Red Spiderling or Tar Vine, loves to grow around sidewalks and in common waste areas. As a result, I tend to walk on it a lot, and not pay much attention to it at all. However, I was on a weed walk with Green Deane and he pointed this little plant out. His walks are mainly about edibles, but occasionally he'll throw in some medicinal information. When he talked about the Red Spiderling he mentioned that it was a commonly used Auyrvedic herb, but he was unsure of it's uses. This stuck in my mind and I started noticing the little vine more and more, until one day I decided to look it up.
|Boerhaavia diffusa sprawling across a sidewalk|
|Boerhaavia diffusa flowers are really, very small|
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)- Known as Huang Xi Xin. Used to move blood, break up stasis, regulate menses, and strengthen the bones and tendons.
Ayurveda- Known as Punarava. This herb is considered bitter, cooling, and astringent. It balances the three doshas within the body. The whole herb is used to improve digestion, for anemia, and asthma. The leaves are used for dyspepsia and other abdominal pains, some tumors, and enlarged spleen. The roots are used as a diuretic, expectorant, vermifuge (expels parasitic worms), and to improve both kidney and liver function.
Liver- Boerhaavia is used to cleanse and revitalize the liver. Helps fight liver disorders such as jaundice, hepatitis, iron deficiency, anorexia, and sluggish liver. Since it helps to improve the overall health of the liver, this herb also helps improve the quality of blood.
Urinary Tract Infections- Due to it's diuretic and antimicrobial actions, Boerhaavia is great to use as part of the treatment for chronic and recurrent UTIs. It can even be used during pregnancy, under strict observation of a doctor and/or midwife.
Weight Loss- As a diuretic, Boerhaavia stimulates the removal of excess fluids and waste products from the body. It is also a mild laxative. These two actions together help shed excess weight without loosing excessive amounts of potassium and other electrolytes.
Diabetes- Several studies have been done involving Boerhaavia leaf extract. Consistently, the extract has shown to decrease blood glucose levels considerably, which in turn increases plasma insulin levels.
Kidney Health- Not only is Boerhaavia a diuretic, but it also helps prevent the formation of stones in the kidneys. Add in the fact that it's an excellent kidney tonic, and you have one of the best herbs for kidney health.
Arthritis- A paste made from grinding the fresh herb can help calm down the inflammation of joints afflicted with arthritis.
Gout and High Uric Acid Levels- One of the ways that Boerhaavia helps improve the health of the kidneys is by increasing the secretion of uric acid. This helps with gout and other conditions associated with high levels of uric acid.
Impotence- The seeds of Boerhaavia help to stimulate and rejuvenate the male reproductive system. Not only does it increase libido, but it also improves the quantity and quality of semen.
Summary of actions- Diuretic, antioxidant, antipyretic, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, stomachic, analgesic, heart tonic, kidney tonic, used in the treatment of jaundice, given to improve digestion, used in the case of an enlarged spleen, and useful for relieving abdominal pains.
Cautions and Contraindications- May increase blood pressure and affect the function of the heart. Anyone with ethanol allergies should avoid this herb. Use extreme caution during pregnancy.
I only included a basic introduction to this amazing herb. I hope you have learned a new appreciation for this little vine that loves to be under your feet. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
Boheraavia Diffusa: Always Ayurveda: http://www.alwaysayurveda.com/boerhaavia-diffusa/
Boheraavia Diffusa: Herbpathy: https://herbpathy.com/Uses-and-Benefits-of-Boerhavia-Diffusa-Cid1552
Punarnava Facts and Health Benefits: Health Benefits Times: https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/punarnava/
Tar Vine, Red Spiderling: Eat the Weeds: http://www.eattheweeds.com/boerhavia-diffusa-catchy-edible-2/
Traditional Indian Herbs Punarnava and Its Medicinal Importance: Journal of Pharmacognosy and Photochemistry: http://www.phytojournal.com/vol1Issue1/Issue_may_2012/5.pdf