Crataeva (Crataeva nurvala)
In Ayurveda, the bark of the Crataeva has been traditionally used to heal kidney stones for more than 3,000 years. Findings of several studies undertaken by contemporary scientists have authenticated that the herb neutralizes the enzyme called glycolate oxidase and this particular effect of the herb lessens the production of oxalates by the body. It may be mentioned here that the oxalates combine with calcium to develop into kidney stones. Another chemical enclosed by Crataeva, lupeol, helps to lower the intensity of several laboratory indicators of kidney damage.
Presently, herbal medicine practitioners primarily use Crataeva to treat kidney and prostate problems. The bark of the tree is particularly used to treat infections of the urinary tract, kidney stones as well as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Researches undertaken by scientists have demonstrated that this particular herb’s actions support the cardiovascular system by properly maintaining the suppleness as well as openness of the arteries. In addition, it is believed that Crataeva has beneficial uses either as an effective diuretic or a herb that slows down or hinders the formation of stones inside the organs. Both the barks as well as the leaves of the tree are extensively utilized for preparing herbal medications. Moreover, Crataeva possesses diuretic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent (soothing or mollifying), lithontriptic (stone dissolving or destroying in the organs) and tonic (stimulant) properties. The bark of this tree generates ceryl alcohol, lupeol, friedelin, diosgenin and betulinic acid.
Antilithic, bladder tonic, arti-inflammatory
The Crataeva is a traditional Ayurvedic herb that is used to treat kidney and prostate problems. In addition, the herb is also used to combat urinary tract contagions.
- Herbalists usually recommend; 3,000 – 6,000 mg crude herb per day.
Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH):
Crataeva has been extensively used to alleviate problems in urination owing to swelling of the prostate. This action of the herb is usually attributed to the chemical lupeol enclosed by the tree. In effect, lupeol is said to neutralize the enzymes responsible for manufacturing leukotrienes that bring on inflammation.
The herb is also effective for treating conditions of the urinary organs, infections of the urinary tract, pain and burning micturition (urination), renal and vesical calculi (bladder stones). Crataeva is available in several varieties and may also be used as an ingredient in other remedial products. However, if you desire to use Crataeva to treat any of the conditions mentioned above, it is advisable to talk to your healthcare provider regarding the treatment of your precise health problems.
Other Common Names:
Three leaved caper, barun, baruna, borun, crataeva, varun, bonna pithagola.
Varuna is found throughout India, especially in sub-Alpine zones along streams and rivers. It prefers a wet soil with a pH of 7, with abundant sunlight. It is fund in abundance in Kerela, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal and Assam. Varuna is frequently found planted near temples, where it is cultivated for its healing qualities.
Crataeva nurvala is a medium sized, deciduous tree which may reach a height of 50 feet. The bark is smooth and brown while the branches have white patches tinged with purple and yellow. Its bark is gray, smooth with horizontal wrinkling. The leaves of the Varuna are trifoliate, 8-12 cm long, with oval leaflets. The flowers are greenish-white, light yellowish or creamy colored, and are fragrant. The fruits are ovoid berries, 2.5 cm in diameter, resembling a lemon and ripening to a red color. The plant flowers in March and fruits in June.
Plant Part Used:
Bark, root bark, and leaves.
The Varuna Plant
The Varuna Plant
(Click on image to enlarge)
Therapeutic Uses, Benefits, and Claims of Varuna
The key constituents of crataeva nurvala are alkaloids; triterpenes; tannins; saponins; flavonoids; plant sterols; and glucosilinates.
The main health actions of crataeva nurvala are diuretic, antilithiatic, rubefacient (reddening the skin by producing hyperemia) and anti-inflammatory. The bark of varuna is believed to have antioxidant, contraceptive, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and urinary-renal supportive qualities, the root is laxative and lithinotriptic and the leaves are believed to be stomachic and tonic.
Crataeva nurvala is one of the best litholytic herbs (ability to break up stones). Scientific research has indicated that a constituent of varuna, lupeol, deactivates the enzyme glycolate oxidase, reducing the body’s production of oxalates which combine with calcium to form kidney stones. Additionally varuna is used as a natural diuretic as it also could hinder kidney stones formation.
Crataeva nurvala is an important Ayurvedic herb that is especially valued for its effectiveness in the treatment of renal conditions. Varuna is used by traditional Ayurvedic herbalists to increase appetite, while stimulating digestion and elimination and also as an herbal treatment for flatulence and abdominal pain.
Varuna is also discussed in ancient Vedic literature as an important herb for use as a blood purifier.
The bark of the varuna is believed to be especially effective when used to treat infections of the urinary tract.
Crataeva nurvala is believed to relieve difficulty in urination cause by enlarged prostate and it has been used tradititonally as a natural herbal treatment in urinary calculi, dysuria (painful urination) and cystitis.
Varuna is often used topically to dilate superficial capillaries and stimulate circulation and scientific research has demonstrated that varuna may support the cardiovascular system by maintaining the suppleness and openness of the arteries.
Taken internally, varuna is used to reduce fever and a decoction made from varuna leaves has also been used as a natural remedy for fever and associated delirium.
Crataeva nurvala is used as a cholegogue (promotes the discharge of bile from the system), anthelmintic (expels worms) and anti-amoebic in both intestinal and heptatic infestations.
Varuna is considered to be a useful herb for anorexia, tumors and liver disorders and externally, varuna is used as a poultice for the treatment of cervical adenitis, abscess, enlarged spleen, rheumatic joint pain, and edematous wounds.
The fresh juice of leaves of varuna is commonly used as a bitter tonic.
Dosage and Administration
Varuna may be used externally as a poultice, or taken internally in various forms – either as a tea or a tincture.
Topical leaf paste (practitioner directed): once a day as directed
Tea: 50 ml twice a day
Tincture: 200 mg orally twice a day (standardized to 1.5% triterpene lupeol)
Side Effects and Possible Interactions of Varuna (Crataeva Nurvala)
Varuna bark and root appear to have very little evidence of toxicity when used in normal dosages. Herbal medicine is not meant to be an alternate or replacement for knowledgeable medical recommendation or care. It should always be taken as per the instructions or directions of the physician or healthcare provider who is recommending its use. Some reports indicate that topical leaf applications may cause blistering when used on sensitive skin in humans.