Boerhavia diffusa L.

DeFilipps, Robert A. & Krupnick, Gary A., 2018, The medicinal plants of Myanmar, PhytoKeys 102, pp. 1-341: 129

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Boerhavia diffusa L.


Boerhavia diffusa L. 


Myanmar: pa-yan-na-war. English: spreading hogweed.


Pantropical. In Myanmar grows naturally on plains throughout the country.


Whole plant: Take with liquid from the leaves of kyeik-hman ( Eclipta prostrata  ) to cure female-related disorders. Mix with the seeds of dant-kywei ( Senna tora  ) and either eaten or used as an ointment to cure ringworm. Leaf: When mixed with milk, it will cure pain in passing urine, gonorrhea, asthma and fevers, give longevity, and keep a person strong and looking youthful. Eaten and cooked with nga-gyin fish ( Cirrhinus mrigala  ) to cure partial paralysis. New mothers having difficulty in lactating will produce milk quickly by drinking soup to which the leaves have been added; sore and aching breasts and general weakness and fatigue will also be cured. Cooked or made into a soup mixed with nga-panaw fish ( Channa punctata  ) to cure heart disease, pleurisy, typhoid, bloating, dropsy, hemorrhoids, flatulence, phlegm, and indigestion. Pounded and used as a poultice for external inflammations. Root: Eating powdered root with sugar will cure coughing and whooping cough; mixed with honey will cure asthma.


The medicinal uses of this species in India are discussed in Jain and DeFilipps (1991) as follows: The whole plant us used as a laxative and diuretic; the leaf as an appetizer, alexiteric, and to control bleeding after childbirth; and the seed as a tonic, carminative and for lumbago, scabies, purifying the blood, and hastening delivery. The root is employed as a diuretic, laxative, expectorant, stomachic; for asthma, edema, anemia, jaundice, internal inflammation, anasarca, as an antidote to snake venom, for dropsy, gonorrhea, ulcers, guineaworm, abdominal tumors, and cancer; also in many herbal preparations for fever (decoction), and an antispasmodic for heart and kidney ailments. Medicinal uses of this species in Dominica are described in DeFilipps (1998).

Perry (1980) discusses the uses of the species in Indo-China, India, and Indonesia.

The plant contains an active alkaloid, punarnavine, and it is believed that a high content of potassium salts enhances the powerful diuretic action of the alkaloid ( Perry 1980).


Nordal (1963), Agricultural Corporation (1980), Forest Department (1999).