Medical Reviewer: Dr Surabhi Rawat
Varuna is known as Crataeva nurvala (botanical name). It belongs to Spermatophyta division of the kingdom Plantae. Crataeva nurvala is a deciduous tree of medium size which may reach a height of 50 feet. The bark is smooth and brow. The branches have white patches along with a ting of purple and yellow. The leaves of the Varuna are trifoliate usually 8 to 12 cm in length. They are oval in shape. The flowers are either greenish white, light yellowish or creamy (Shweta Pushpa) in colour and are all fragrant. The flowers start to blossom from March, whereas the fruits are seen on the plant during June. The fruits are ovoid berries, 2.5 cm in diameter, resembling a lemon and ripening to a red colour.
Varuna is also known as Three leaved capers, sacred lingam tree, holy garlic pear in English and Barun, Barna, Bila, Bilasi and Biliana in Hindi.
- Rasa (taste) – tikta, kashaya (Astringent, Bitter)
- Veerya / Virya (Potency) – ushna (Hot)
- Guna(Physical Property) – Rooksha(Dry), Laghu(Light to digest)
- Vipaka (Metabolic property, taste conversion after digestion) – Katu(Pungent)
- Effect on Tridosha- Balances Kapha and vata dosha. It aggravates Pitta dosha.
The bark is considered antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, contraceptive and urinary renal supportive. The leaves contain stomachic properties and act as a tonic. The roots of Varuna are laxative and are best known for lithotripter properties, which gives it the ability to break stones in kidney, ureters and bladder.
Uses Of Varuna
- Increases pitta dosha
- Deepana– improves digestion capacity
- Jantujit, Krumihara– useful against worm infestation and infected wounds
- Cardiac disorders (Hrudgada, as per Ayurveda) such as heart attack is prevented by the use of Varuna.
- Vataghna– It treats and cures disorders of vata dosha imbalance such as neuralgia, paralysis, constipation or bloating.
- Vidradhihara– useful in abscess
- Useful to cure blood disorders also known as Raktadoshahara.
- Sheershavatahara– useful in migraine and headache.
- Bhedi– has a piercing effect.
- Useful in abdominal tumours (Gulmahara)
- It promotes the discharge of bile
- Vatasrahara– useful in the treatment of gout
- Prevents liver from getting infected
- Treats urinary tract infection
- Helpful for those with low appetite
- Diuretic nature of Varuna makes it not form stones in the kidney
- Reduces stomach ache
Formulations Made From Varuna
- Varunadi vati
- Varanasi kashya
- Mahamanjisthadi churna
- Varuna churna
- Nyagrodhadi Churna
- Mutrakrichantak churna
- Abhaya Lavana
Varuna may be used externally as a poultice or taken internally in various forms either as a tea or a tincture.
- The decoction made by boiling of the leaves should be taken in the range of 50 to 100 ml.
- Topical leaf paste: once a day or as prescribed by a medical practitioner.
- Tea: 50 ml twice a day.
- Tincture: 200 mg orally twice a day (standardized to 1.5% triterpene lupeol).
Against Urolithiasis & Crystalluria
Urolithiasis also known as Mutrashmari is the stone formation in the urinary tract. Mutrashmari (renal calculi, which are a solid mass of stone) as per Ayurveda is a disease caused by Vata-Kapha imbalance. It causes obstruction in the Mutravaha Srotas (urinary system). Crystalluria is a disease where the urine becomes cloudy due to crystal formation.
Varuna is one of the herbs which helps to break renal calculi and helps in reducing the size of the stone. Because of Asmaribhedan (penetration) property exhibited by Varuna, it is able to break down large chunks of stone into smaller pieces. Varuna also being diuretic in nature helps to expel stones out of the body easily. It is helpful in all types of kidney-related issues due to its property of decreasing the production of oxalate which is the main reason for the formation of calculi and calcium salts.
It also helps in breaking the crystal formation in the urine.
a. Take 1/2 or 1 tsp of Varuna powder.
b. Mix it with honey and consume after food.
Against Urinary Tract Infection
UTI is an infection which affects the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract.
Ayurveda uses Mutrakcchra, which is a term used to broadly classify Urinary tract infection. Mutra means urine and Krichra mean painful. In the case of UTI, Varuna helps to control pain and burning sensation due to its diuretic properties.
Suggested Remedy: It is recommended that one take 1/2 to 1 tsp of Varuna powder mixed with honey after food, so to keep the kidney and urinary tract healthy.
Against Benign prostatic hyperplasia
In ageing men, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as prostate enlargement is a common cause of lower urinary tract symptoms where the cells of the prostate gland begin to multiply. Lower urinary tract involves bladder, urethra and urinary sphincter. In Ayurveda, BPH is similar to Vatasthila.
In this condition, aggravated Vata gets localized in between urinary bladder and rectum. This produces a dense glandular swelling called BPH. Varun helps to balance Vata aggravation and control the size of the prostate gland. It also helps to reduce dysuria (painful urination).
a. Take ½-1 teaspoon of Varun powder.
b. Have it with honey after taking food. If not honey, have it with milk.
In Ayurveda, Varuna is considered a Vataghna (treats vata disorders). Constipation is a vata condition which generally occurs due to weak or poor digestion and infrequent bowel movements which are hard to pass due to hard and dry stool. Other symptoms of constipation include abdominal pain and bloating.
Frequent constipation leads to the formation and accumulation of toxins in the body in the form of Ama (toxin remains in the body due to incomplete digestion). Varuna helps to manage constipation due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestion) properties. It improves digestion and prevents the formation of toxins in the body.
Paralysis is caused by the damage in the nervous system. The muscles and sensory system of the body stop responding to the incoming signals which the body can receive. Most of the time paralysis is constant in nature, but sometimes it can also be for a certain period of time. Since paralysis is also a vata condition, formulations with Varuna as the main herb can help with it.
Suggested Remedy: Make a mixture of Curcuma zedoaria (roots) 20%,
Withania somnifera (roots) 20% , Tribulus Terrestris (fruits) 20%, Zingiber officinale (roots) 20%, Piper longum (fruits) 5%, Crataeva nurvala (leaves) 10%, Plumbago zeylanica (roots) 5%.
3 gm of mixed powder is given to the patient, three times a day with honey.
It is a form of arthritis that develops in some people who have a very high level of uric acid accumulated in their bloodstream. They form needle-like crystals in or near a joint. This causes sudden pain, severe redness of the area affected and tenderness of the skin. Read more here.
According to Ayurveda Gout occurs due to an imbalance of Vata dosha and results in the inflammation or swelling in the affected area. Varuna contains lupeol (It is an effective inhibitor in laboratory models of prostate and skin cancers) in the plant extract which helps to manage the inflammation and swelling with its Vata balancing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Varuna helps in quick healing of the wound. It decreases swelling and normalises the skin texture due to its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and healing properties.
a. Take 1/2-1 tsp of Varun bark powder.
b. Make a paste with coconut oil.
c. Apply on the wounded area.
It is a bacterial infection which occurs due to the collection of pus that has built up under the tissue leads to an abscess. Redness, pain and warmth are a few common symptoms of the abscess.
According to Ayurveda, an abscess is a condition which occurs due to an imbalance of Vata-Pitta dosha and results in inflammation and pus formation. Varuna helps to manage Abscess due to its Sothhar (anti-inflammatory), Kashaya (astringent) and Vata balancing properties. It reduces the symptoms like inflammation and prevents further occurrence of the abscess. This is all due to its blood purifying and anti-inflammatory properties.
As a remedy, you can use the same one as mentioned in the above (wound healing) section.
Wrinkles are caused due to ageing, sun exposure, smoking, improper nutrition, dry skin and lack of moisture but according to Ayurveda, aggravated Vata is the major cause for it. Varun is oily in nature and can help bring back the natural oils and moisture of the skin hence reducing wrinkles.
Suggested Remedy: Honey, when mixed and used with a paste of Varun bark, can give you a glowing skin.
A study was conducted which depicts Crataeva nurvala’s anti-cancer properties. This observation was carried out on Wistar rats. After a 3 day injection of testosterone followed by injection of carcinogen for 1 week, the rats were finally induced with prostate cancer. These rats were treated with ethanolic extract of Crataeva nurvala for 4 months. At the same time, they were timely given testosterone injections too.
After the study, it was found that there was a rise in the level of acid phosphatase and lipid peroxidation in prostrate cancer rats. After treatment with Crataeva Nurvala, there was a drastic decrease in the amount of the above-mentioned chemical. The enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidants were decreased and were nearly restored to normal value. This study could hence conclude that Varuna has anti-cancer abilities.
Click to read a detailed study.
There is also a traditional method to fight against cancer. This has been given by Ayurveda. The following are the list of ingredients that are required to prepare a powder :
Azadirachta indica (bark) 20%
Bauhinia variegata (bark) 15%
Crataeva nurvala (bark) 15%
Terminalia chebula (fruits) 15%
T. bellerica (fruits) 10%
Holarrhena antidysenterica (bark) 10%
Tinospora cordifolia (stems) 15%
These are mixed well and then 4grams of this powder must be given to the patient two times a day along with lukewarm honey to fight against cancer.
Warning: Serious diseases like cancer should not be taken lightly and home remedies should not be taken without the consultation of a trained Ayurveda practitioner. These remedies are only for reference.
Loss Of Appetite
Varuna has deepen and pachan properties which are highly beneficial in case of appetite loss, the main reason for which is a weak Agni (digestive fire). Varun acts as a digestion stimulator and improves Agni. You can use the following remedy
a. Take ½-1 teaspoon Varun powder.
b. Have it with honey after taking food.
Side Effects & Precautions:
- Some reports indicate that topical leaf applications may cause blistering when used on sensitive skin in humans.
- It is safe to use Varuna when lactating, but one should medical advice during pregnancy.
- Hypersensitivity to Crataeva Nurvala is a contraindication
- Store medicines at room temperature that is between 27 to 33-degree Celcius. Keep it away from too much heat and direct sunlight.
- Do not freeze unless the packaging requires it to.
- Keep it away from children and pets. It may have adverse effects on them.