‘Punar’ denotes restoring or regaining and ‘nava’ means new. Punarnava as the name suggests has the tendency to rejuvenate.
Two varieties of the plant have been
mentioned in the scriptures – Shweta punarnava (white variety) and Rakta punarnava (red).
The white variety is commonly used for medicinal purposes and its botanical name is Boerrhavia diffusa belonging to the family nyctaginaceae. It is known as ‘hogweed’ in English, ‘Thazhuthama’ in Malayalam and ‘Gandhapurna’ or ‘Sand’ in Hindi. Though the whole plant is used, medicinally the
most important part is the root.
“Punarnava shwetha moola shophaghni deergha pathrika
Katu kashaya anurasa pandughni deepaneepara
Shophaanila gara sleshma haribraghna udara pranuth//