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Capsule Varun

Latin name: Crataeva Nurvela
Family: Capparidaceae
Common name: Varun

English name: Three leaved caper

Habitat: throughout India

Macroscopic identification: A moderate sized deciduous tree. Bark gray, smooth horizontally wrinkled. Leaves trifoliate. Flowers are white, or cream in color and are present as many flowered terminal corymbs. Fruit is multiple seeded, ovoid berries. Seeds are embedded in yellow fleshy pulp

Parts used: bark, leaves and root bark

Pharmacological action: leaves are stomachic and tonic
Root and bark are laxatives and lithinotriptic. They promote appetite and increase biliary secretion
Root is alterative

Actions and uses in ayurveda: asmari, mutrakrichha, gulma, vidradhi
Photochemical: saponins, tannin, flavonoids, glucosinolates, plant sterols, including lupeol

Properties and action:
Rasa: tikta, kasaya.
Guna: laghu, ruksha
Virya: usna
Vipaka: katu
Karma: bhedi, deepana, vatslesmahara
Indications: urinary infections, renal calculi, rheumatism and ascites

Preparations: extract, decoction, and churn

Therapeutic classification index:

  • Genito- urinary system: atonic bladder (lack of normal tone), benign prostrate hyperplasia (increase in volume of a tissue or organ caused by the formation of and growth of new cells), chronic urinary tract infections, hypo -tonic bladder (reduced tone or tension) and incontinence prevention and treatment of kidney stones.

Use of Varun in benign prostrate enlargement
On the basis of principles of Ayurvedic pharmacodynamics and other classical references the clinical trial of Varun (Crataeva Nurvela) has been taken up in the treatment of urinary disorders caused by enlarged prostate.

The trial of drug has been taken on 50 patients of enlarged prostate while 3 patients and 3 volunteers served as control. The diagnosis and assessment of effect of drug has been based on cystometers and bio-chemical parameters, in addition to clinical parameters.

As a result of treatment, the patients gradually improved and ultimately 60% of the patient showed complete symptomatic relief. The increased blood urea was reduced to normal in about 80% of the patients. The tone of the urinary bladder was also improved and quantity of residual urine was reduced to normal. Therefore, it can be concluded that Varun is very useful in the treatment of urinary disorders caused by enlarged prostate.

Animal experiments have also been carried out to study its anti- inflammatory and anti-lithiatic effect of Varun. The process of stone formation from Ayurvedic as well as modern point of view has been discussed. The anti-inflammatory effect of drug has been confirmed on carrageening induced granuloma pouch, though this effect is less than cortisone

Role of Varun in urinary calculi
The water extract of Varun bark reportedly, displays nicotinic actions on guinea pig ileum and dog tracheal muscle in vitro. Deshpande et al have studied the effects of this water extract on the bladder contractility of dogs. They found that the expulsive force of detrussor contraction increases under the influence of Varun. The alcohol ether extract of the bark has anti-inflammatory activity comparable to that of Corticosteroids. Acute inflammations induced by histamine and carrageenin, and delayed (chronic) inflammations (in formaldehyde induced arthritis) are both inhibited. The water extract of Varun leaves displays antibacterial activity against Shigella and Salmonella in vitro. Deshpande has studied the clinical use of Varun decoction on bladder emptying, chronic urinary infection and urinary electrolyte excretion. Varun decoction reduces the urinary excretion of sodium and magnesium, shifting values from the lithogenic to the non- lithogenic zones. It was also found to increase the 'spontaneous' passage of renal and bladder calculi. In patients with prostrate hypertrophy, Varun decoction increases the force of detrussor contraction, reducing the volume of residual urine. This action, through which stagnation of urine is reduced, combined with its anti-inflammatory property, may explain the antiseptic action of Varun on the urinary tract.

Anticomplement activity of triterpenes from Crataeva nurvala stem bark in adjuvant arthritis in rats.
Geetha T, Varalakshmi P.

Department of Medical Biochemistry, Dr. A.L. Mudaliar Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Chennai, India.

Adjuvant arthritis is widely used as an experimental model for rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation. It is useful in the evaluation of anti-inflammatory drugs. Lupeol is a naturally occuring triterpene isolated from Crataeva nurvala stem bark, and its ester lupeol linoleate was synthesized. The effects of lupeol and lupeol linoleate on the development of complement in adjuvant arthritis in rats were studied and compared with those of indomethacin. The effect of lupeol linoleate in reducing the foot-pad thickness and complement activity in arthritic rats was even greater than that of unesterified lupeol and indomethacin. Because complement is highly involved in inflammation, the results suggest that the anti-inflammatory activity of triterpenes may be due to their anticomplementary activity.

Effect of triterpenes from Crataeva nurvala stem bark on lipid peroxidation in adjuvant induced arthritis in rats.
Geetha T, Varalakshmi P, Latha RM.

Department of Medical Biochemistry, Dr. A.L. Mudaliar Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Chennai, India.

Lupeol, a pentacyclic triterpene was isolated from C. nurvala stem bark and its ester lupeol linoleate was synthesised. These triterpenes were tested for their anti-inflammatory activity in complete Freund's adjuvant induced arthritis rats. For some time free radicals have been implicated in damage to connective tissues during inflammatory conditions and arthritis. Lupeol and lupeol linoleate were administered orally at the dose level of 50 mg kg-1 body weight daily for 8 days, from the 11th to 18th day postadjuvantly. There was a significant increase in lipid peroxide level in plasma of arthritic rats but it was found to be decreased in the liver. The antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase were elevated in both the liver and haemolysate in adjuvant-induced rats. Blood glutathione was decreased in arthritis. The triterpenes reduced the above alterations produced in arthritic animals. The effect of lupeol linoleate was found to be better in this respect when compared with lupeol.

Dose: decoction 50-100 ml
Capsule Varun contains pure and concentrated Varun
Dosage: one capsule twice a day.
Package 60 capsules


  • The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India, Part I, Vol.I, pg 120
  • Prof P.V Sharma, Dravya Guna Vigyana, Vol II, pg 652-655
  • Dr.KM Nadkarni, The Indian Materia Medica, Vol.I, pg 387
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