Incredible Health Benefits of Pigweed (Punarnava)

Pigweed Benefits, Uses and possible Side Effects


One of those health-beneficial herbal plants hidden in neglected forests and able to keep its medicinal properties unknown from the eyes of many people is ‘Pigweed’ (Punarnava), which was specially used in the ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicines as a carrier of many medicinal properties.

benefits of pigweed

Plant Description 

Pigweed is a perpetual, layered herb with a height of up to 60 cm. The herb has a straight and very thick taproot and has many branched stem. The branches are thick in divaricate, stem perlis, node. The leaves are reversed, sedate, ovaries or sub-orbiter, round, complete, margin slightly pink, wavy, lower surface with small, white scale, base round. The flowers are bracketed, intense. Perianth-tube is compressed over the ovaries, with a funnel shape of limbs, dark-pink, with 5 vertical bands outside. Stamen 2 or 3, slightly excited, uneven. Ovaries are excellent, sharp, ovulation 1, standing and stigma. Its seeds are minute, alminus with endosperm, embryo bend. 

Benefits of Pigweed

The plant has gained popularity in India due to its medicinal properties. It is collected from the wild and used locally and as green property in herbal preparation. The word ‘Pigweed’ means something that makes the body have a conversation. This herb has been used as a powerful ayurvedic since ancient times which has immense health benefits.


The Pigweed plant usually grows naturally in parts of the tropical and temperate regions and needs sun condition and well drained soil for a good growth. It cannot develop in the shadows. It prefers dry or damp soil and grows as a drought crop. The time between April and May is excellent for growing this plant.

The following article will discuss the benefits, uses and possible side effects of this herbal plant Pigweed. 

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Different Regional Names of Pigweed

  • Assamese : Punarnava
  • Bengali : Punanava
  • Punjabi : Itsit
  • Marathi : Ghetuli
  • Kannada : Sandika
  • Malayalam : Thazhuthama
  • Hindi : Sant, Gadahpurna
  • Telugu : Attamamidi
  • Unani : Itsit, Bishakha Patra
  • Sanskrit : Pigweed, Sophaghni
  • Tamil : Mukaratte-kirai

Scientific Classification of Pigweed

  • Kingdom :  Plantae
  • Clade : Tracheophytes
  • Clade : Angiosperms
  • Clade : Eudicots
  • Order : Caryophyllales
  • Family : Nyctaginaceae
  • Genus : Boerhavia
  • Species : B. diffusa
  • Scientific name: Boerhavia diffusa 

Nutritious Substances presents in Pigweed

Nutritional value of every 100gms of Pigweed:

  • Protein : 162 mg 
  • Sodium : 2.26% 
  • Vitamin C : 44.8 mg
  • Calcium : 142 mg 
  •  Fat : 1.61% 
  • Iron : 0.012 mg 

Health Benefits of Pigweed

  1. Good for the Liver:

Liver is one of the major organs functioning inside the body. Liver works hard when a disease strikes the body. In such a situation, unhealthy liver can result in body damage. The root of the Pigweed is extremely good for the liver. It helps in regulating bile, which keeps the liver healthy and effective.

  1. Helps in Weight loss:

One of the main benefits of Pigweed is that the plant can fight obesity. Most herbal sliming formulas contain Pigweed. This herb helps in removing excess fluid from the body by losing the potassium or electrolytes that the body needs. Hence, Pigweed helps in weight loss as a gentle laxative.

  1. Treats UTI-Urinary Tract Infection:

Urinary tract infections are very common in women. They cause a lot of difficulty, as well as burning sensation while urinating. Pigweed powder has anti-spasmodic, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

They act as a fantastic cure for UTI, effectively cleaning the infection in no time. Pigweed herb can be used to cure UTI during pregnancy as it has no adverse effect on the mother or baby.

  1. Has Diuretic Effect:

Pigweed medicine is a disinfectant, which means it stimulates regular and abundant urine. It helps in keeping the body clean. Moreover, regular urination cleanses the calcium accumulated in the kidneys, thus preventing kidney stones. 

  1. Good for Diabetic patients:

Diabetes can be extremely dangerous if not controlled in time. Pigweed can help controlling diabetes. This is because its leaves (also leaf-derived ingredients) control the glucose levels in the body which is extremely beneficial for diabetics. In Ayurveda, Pigweed helps in increasing plasma insulin levels. 

  1. Good for the Heart: 

Pigweed plant can help you prevent congestive heart failure, because it reduces the workload in the heart by insinuating edema. To be as beneficial as possible, the recurrent root powder should ideally be mixed with terminalia arjuna bark powder or any other herbal remedy for heart failure due to maximum results.

  1. Reduces Arthritis pain:

Pigweed has beneficial effects for arthritis. The herb provides great relief from joint pain and swelling muscle pain. You can apply it as paste externally. There is no side effect on the skin from this.

  1. Good for Eyes:

Since the eyes are a highly sensitive part of the body, they can be sensitive to several diseases and infections at any time of the day. Pigweed root juice is used to recover from several infections and diseases such as tears, night blindness etc. A few drops of juice used directly in the eyes can do wonders for your eyesight.

  1. Treats various stomach problems:

If you are suffering from a stomach problem, pigweed will do magic for you. It strengthens the abdominal muscles. It can also destroy intestinal worms which is an important function as worms can be very harmful in your body and can lead to starvation and death. Pigweed extraction helps in preventing intestinal bowel diseases.

  1. Can treat Impotence:

Impotence can be a major problem. Pigweed seeds have great benefits for those suffering from impotence. It can help rejuvenate the reproductive organ of the entire man, as well as inspire a lot of vitality and energy, and it also increases your libido. Moreover, the pigweed seed can improve the overall quality of semen produced. It can also cure erectile dysfunction. 

  1. Effective in Cough and Fever:

Take 4-5 grams of Pigweed root, 3-4 tulsi (basil) leaves, and 1-2 peppers. Boil them and add a little sugar/ jaggery to taste and consume it. For young children, take the roots and mix them with honey, and give them to the children. For people suffering from chronic fever, use and consume the roots of the resin as crushed plants and tulsi leaves. This reactant causes toxins to pass through the body through urine.

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Besides these, pigweed plants can also be used for other diseases. It can help cure bronchial asthma, a good remedy for gout and prevent high levels of uric acid in the blood. Moreover, the root of pigweed leaf is also considered to be a good remedy for cancer as it is an anti cancer agent. Pigweed is a good antioxidant, cardiokine, antihepatic, and chloratic agent. Therefore, benefits for various physical systems and functions of the Pigweed are noted.

Uses of Pigweed

Pigweed leaves, roots and stem are used for medicinal purposes –

  • It is also widely used in Ayurveda to cure various diseases like insomnia, cataracts, tuberculosis, asthma, eye disorders, kidney infections and disorders, common fever, swine, worms, rabies, alcohol, etc. 
  • Doctors recommend eating powder or tablets of pigweed leaves in case of heavy menstrual periods, clotting, fibroids and urinary tract infections in women. It is also used in ayurvedic medicines.
  • Pigweed is also used as fodder. It can be eaten as a vegetable; in fact it is eaten in African and Asian countries. 
  • Both leaves and seeds of pigweed plant can be consumed and used for cooking.

Harmful Side Effects of Pigweed 

Although there seems to be a lot of benefits of the Pigweed plant, it also has harmful aspects –

  • Pregnant women and children under 12 should avoid consuming this herb as the plant has high levels of sodium. 
  • Breastfeeding mothers should consult a doctor before consuming it.
  • People suffering from diabetes should take it under the guidance of the doctor as it contains sugar and a self-produced alcohol compound.
  • Pigweed will always be consumed after meals as eating on an empty stomach can cause stomach irritation.
  • You should drink pigweed powder with water instead of milk. It can increase blood pressure so one should keep an eye on blood sugar levels.
  • Eating without water can cause burns on the neck.
  • People with ethanol-related allergies should refrain from using this herb.
  • Refrain from taking it before driving as it contains self-produced alcohol and hence may lead to sleep.
  • Make sure you don’t overtake this herb; otherwise it can cause damage to the body.

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The above article informs you about the benefits of the Pigweed plant and related details to it. We hope the information mentioned in this article benefits you in various ways. Thank you!


1) Which part of the Pigweed plant is used?

A. Pigweed is a herbal plant having the ability to rejuvenate the body by extracting toxins from cell tissues. It nourishes the body cells. Pigweed roots are used in ayurveda as food to reduce fluid retention.

2) Does Pigweed increase blood pressure?

A- It has important high blood pressure resistant properties that help keep high blood pressure under control. Moreover, it is a disinfectant, which helps in increasing the flow of kidney blood which further contributes to its high blood pressure resistance function.

3) Is Pigweed good for the lungs?

A. Pigweed is an excellent herb for the lungs, as it is bronchodilator and expectorant, meaning it keeps the airways open and clean. This powerful herb helps calm a cough, as well as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties.

4) What is the biological source of Pigweed?

A. Fresh or dry Diffusa L. Punarnova is the source of medicine which is a disinfectant. B.diffusa L. Is a permanent cringing weed, prostrate or raised herb, spreading pulses up to 1m long or above.

5) How can pigweed plants be identified?

A- The plant can be identified as – it is a spreading perennial herb with root-stock and many standing or spreading branches. Its length increases by up to two meters. Plant leaves are simple, wide, somewhat rough, thick and fragile.

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