Botanical name: Crataeva nurvala, also called Crataeva
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.
Varun is found throughout India. It prefers a wet soil with a pH of 7, with abundant sunlight.
It 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 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.
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 have demonstrated that this particular herb’s actions support the cardiovascular system by properly maintaining the suppleness as well as openness of the arteries. 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.
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.
The fresh juice of leaves of varuna is commonly used as a bitter tonic.