Medical Reviewer: Dr Surabhi Rawat
Netrabala is a medicinal herb mentioned in Ayurveda and revered for its ability to cure a number of diseases and disorders. The botanical name of the herb is Pavonia odorata. Here Pavonia is a genus which includes the flowering species of the mallow family called Malvaceae. Most of the species of this genus are known as swamp mallows. Netrabala / Hrivera (Hindi name of the herb) is called Fragrant Swamp Mallow in English and Balaka in Sanskrit. Just like Netrabala, Hibiscus is part of the same genus and is known as Rose Swamp Mallow.
Netrabala: Plant Anatomy And Distribution
Fragrant Swamp Mallow is a perennial herb, erect in shape. The stem of the plant is green in colour and is often found covered with sparse sticky hair. The plant’s height can reach up to 2.5 meters and the thickness of the stem varies. The leaves of Netrabala are heart-shaped and the root is pale brown in colour. Flowering occurs from July to September and the plant bears flowers that are pink in colour. The fruit is spherical in shape.
Fragrant Swamp Mallow is a plant that belongs to the plains. It can also be grown in saline marshes and lakeshores. Growing in regions with slightly warmer climates, Netrabala can be found in different countries of the world, especially in the Indian sub-continent. It is majorly found in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Eastern Tropical Africa.
Netrabala: Uses And Properties
Netrabala, just like other plants of the Pavonia family holds a number of medicinal properties. All the parts of the plant can be used as different medicinal formulations. The leaves and roots are demulcent and emollient and can be helpful in the treatment of urinary disorders, disorders related to the stomach, skin problems and many more.
The medicinal properties for which Netrabala plant is noted are:
- Cancer preventive
According to Ayurveda, Netrabala helps in dealing with the following problems:
- Aruchi or loss of taste
- Hrdroga or heart related disorders
- Ama or helps in improving digestive system functioning
- Atisara or diarrhea
- Hrllasa or nausea
- Visarpa or herpes
- Vrana or faster wound healing
- Keshya or hair related issues
- Kushta or skin problems
- Trishna or problem of excessive thirst
- Bleeding disorders
- Shvitra or useful in leucoderma and vitiligo
Ayurvedic Properties / Gunadharma
- Physical property (Guna) – light (laghu) and dry (rooksha)
- Taste (Rasa) – tikta (bitter)
- Potency (Veerya) – sheeta or cool
- Conversion after digestion (Vipaka) – pungent after digestion
- Effect on doshas – Netrabala helps in balancing Pitta and Kapha doshas.
- Action of the herb – Works as Deepana (kindles the digestive fire) and Pachana (aids digestion)
Useful In Diarrhea And Dysentery
Diarrhea is caused due to consumption of food or water infected with bacteria. It causes loose and watery bowel movement which also involves a sense of urgency. Often accompanied by stomach cramps, diarrhea usually does not last long but sometimes it can get aggravated and result in dysentery. Dysentry involves blood and mucus in stool. Both these stomach ailments can be treated with the help of Netrabala. It possesses antimicrobial properties and thus consuming this herb helps in fighting the microbes infecting the gut. A hot infusion of Netrabala can prove to be helpful.
Beneficial In Skin Disorders
With rising air pollution and too much consumption of junk food, our skin has lost its sheen and people have started experiencing acne breakouts too often. Apart from this, excessive usage of cosmetic products has just made the situation worse. Packed with innumerable chemicals, they might often make our skin look good temporarily but bring with them long lasting damage. Netrabala which has antiinflammatory properties if applied as a paste on the skin can help fight a number of skin issues involving acne. And it does not come with any side effects; rather it helps the skin look more supple and glowing naturally.
Netrabala For Bleeding Problems
According to Ayurveda, Netrabala is quite helpful in bleeding problems, especially for menstruating women. Most of the women experience a number of problems related to menstruation like delayed periods and excessive bleeding. Consuming Netrabala along with sandalwood and rice washed water (also known as tandulodaka) can help in dealing with too much bleeding during menstruation. Being anti-spasmodic, Netrabala also helps in relieving stomach cramps which are common during menstruation.
For Burning Sensation
Burning sensation can be internal or external. A person might suffer from blisters on the skin due to tight and uncomfortable clothes, too much sun or other kinds of inflammation of the skin. Application of the paste of the root of Netrabala plant has a soothing and cooling effect and provides relief from burning sensation. Oral consumption of Netrabala can help rid of any burning sensation of the stomach.
Netrabala To Get Rid Of Nausea
Nausea means a vomit like sensation. It can be caused due to some underlying disorder or due to some external factor like living in a closed area with poor air circulation. Netrabala helps in providing relief from nausea when consumed with ushira and rice washed water.
Helminths are parasites which look like worms. They often reside in the intestine and feed on the host to survive. These parasites can range from non-perilous to extremely dangerous and can even cause death. Generally, when affected by helminths, appetite and nutrient absorption by the body drops. The affected person might experience a sudden loss of weight. Netrabala has anti-helminthic property and consuming it within the recommended dosage can help freeing the body from these organisms.
Netrabala is known to help improve the functioning of the digestive system. Its antimicrobial properties ensure that the gut remains free of any infection causing bacteria or fungi. It even helps in preventing the formation of Ama. Ama are toxins which are formed due to incomplete digestive process. The undigested food takes the form of toxic substances. By improving digestion and better absorption of nutrients, Netrabala ensures the body remains free from Ama.
Anti-Oxidant And Anti-Cancer
Antioxidant substances are those which help flush the body out of free radicals thus saving it of the oxidative stress. Free radicals when accumulated in the body can lead to the formation of benign to malignant tumors. These tumors can often spread in the body and turn cancerous. Antioxidant and anticancer properties of Netrabala help in saving the body against this deadly disease.
When Suffering From Vitilgo
Vitiligo is a disorder of the skin in which the skin becomes white in patches. It is caused due to the loss of the colour giving pigment called melanin. The loss of pigment can be in small patches or even in whole of the skin. It can even include the eyes and the hair. Netrabala is one of the medicinal Ayurvedic herbs which can help in fighting this disorder.
Other Benefits Of Netrabala
- Possessing anti-inflammatory property, Netrabala can be applied on bruises or swollen joints due to arthritis or any other problems. It provides relief from the pain and swelling.
- Netrabala can be helpful in quickly curing mouth ulcers. Oral consumption in recommended dosage can also help in fighting stomach ulcers.
- The root of hrivera is also used as a hair tonic.
The dosage of the herb depends on a number of factors like the age, body type, gender, medical history and current health condition of a person. However, the general recommended dosage of Netrabala is:
- 3 to 6 grams per day
Netrabala: Side Effects And Precautions
It is considered possibly safe when consumed in regulated quantities. However, if not taken within the recommended dosage, it can cause problems like:
Apart from these side effects, the following precautions should be taken:
- Since not much is known about the effects of Netrabala on pregnant and lactating women, they must avoid consuming this herb.
- It is always recommended to obtain the prescription of a doctor before consuming any herb.