VARUNA (Crataeva Nurvala)
Varuna is one of the best litholytic herbs and has been used throughout the ages for the treatment of urolithiasis and crystalluria. Varuna is mentioned in vedic literature, its therapeutic use being known to ancient Ayurvedic physicians, especially as a blood purifier, to maintain homeostasis. The plant has various synonyms in Ayurvedic scriptures delineating its peculiarities viz. triparna-trifoliate, bilvapatra- leaves resemble to those of bilva (Aegle marmelos). Vrttaphala – fruits, ovoid berries, asmari-ghna- litholytic, tikta- bitter etc. Maharsi Susruta has mentioned varuna as a litholytic agent in treating kapha and vata varieties of asmari (calculi).
The plant grows throughout India, especially along the streams and river banks. It is found in abundance, in Kerela, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal and Assam. A medium sized, deciduous, much branched tree grows up to 7-9 meters in height. The bark is grayish, smooth, vertically cracked. The leaves trifoliate, 8-12 cm long, with oval leaflets. The flowers are greenish white, 5-8 cm in diameter, polygamous and fragrant. The fruits, ovoid berries, 2.5 cm in diameter, red when ripe. The plant flowers in March and fruits in June. Kapha and vata doshas but aggravates the pitta dosha. It possesses light and dry attributes. It is an appetizer, febrifuge, diuretic and litholytic in properties. It is used in diseases like urinary disorders, urinary calculi, blood disorders, worms and tumors. (Bhavaprakasa Nighantu)
The skin, roots and leaves of varuna have great medicinal value. The plant is used internally as well as externally. Externally, the paste or its leaves or skin of bark is applied in cervical adenitis, abscess and edematous wounds. The same paste is salutary in rheumatic joint for relief of pain. The pulp of leaves is applied on abdomen in splenic enlargement, with great benefit.
Internally, varuna is used in vast range of diseases. The decoction of leaves given along with ghee relieves flatulence and abdominal pain. It also works well as a laxative, cholegogue, appetizer and vermicide, hence useful in anorexia, tumors, liver disorders, flatulent dyspepsia and helminthiasis. The decoction of skin of varuna and kancanara (Bauhinia variegata) is given along with honey in abscesses for the potent anti inflammatory action. The decoction of skin of varuna alone is used as blood purifier in gout, internal abscess, adenitis etc. It also works well to reduce body fats in obesity. The leaves cooked as vegetables are also benevolent in obesity. Varuna has the cardinal properties as litholytic, diuretic and urinary antiseptic. The decoction of bark skin or roots in beneficial in urinary calculi, dysuria and cystitis. The combination of Varuna, sunthi, goksura in decoction, is give along with jaggery and yavakhara. Another combination – Varuna, apamarga, punarnava, yastimadhu, goksura and yavaksara is also commonly used in urinary dalculi, dysuria and cystitis. The decoction of leaves effectively alleviates the fever and associated delirium. Varuna is commonly used as a bitter tonic. The fresh juice of leaves is useful as a tonic. In enlarged prostate, strangury and urinary tract infections the decoction of its bark is rewarding. Varuna is used as a cholegogue, anthelmintic and anti- amoebic in both intestinal and hepatic infestations. Its action as an anti inflammatory agent is beneficial in deep seated suppurative inflammations, in small joints, diseases and in osteomyelitis.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations