Herb Information Varun tree (Crataeva nurvala)

Varuna tree (Three-leaved caper) is a medicinal tree found throughout India. It grows abundantly in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Assam and also distributed in sub Himalayan tracts. The bark and leaves of the tree are mainly used for medicinal purpose. In Ayurveda Varun bark is recommended for blood purification, urinary-bladder problems, erysipelas, lymphadenopathy, BPH (Enlarged Prostate) and calculi.

Varun Tree medicinal uses

It is one of the best effective medicinal herb useful in treating urinary disorders (urolithiasis, prostatic hypertrophy, neurogenic bladder, urinary infections) and stones. For expelling gravels from the body, Crataeva bark along with other diuretic herbs is given. Varunadi kwath / Varanadi Kashayam, a polyherbal classical Ayurvedic medicine is available in market, in which chief ingredient is bark of Varuna. This medicine is effective in treatment of kidney and urinary stones.

Experimental studies show Crataeva effectively prevents the deposition of stone material in the urinary bladder of rats. It dissolves phosphate type of calculi. The bark contains pharmacologically active triterpenoid Lupeol (also known as Fagarsterol). The experiments show, lupeol not only prevents the formation of bladder stone, but also reduced the size of the preformed stones in the kidneys of rats.

Varun bark has appetizer, diuretic and litholytic activities. The tree is also used in treatment of alopecia, low appetite, prostrate enlargement, constipation, painful urination, and UTI.

General Information

Crataeva nurvala is a wild or cultivated tree often found along streams. It is also found in dry, deep boulder formation in Sub-Himalayan tracts. Crataeva tree is up to 10 meter high. Its grey white, smooth, longitudinally wrinkled bark is 2-3 mm thick. Leaves are trifoliate, alternate and extipulate. Flowers are bisexual and creamy white.

Scientific Classification

The botanical name of Varuna is Crateva nurvala. It belongs to genus Crataeva and family Capparidaceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Division: Magnoliophyta
  • Phylum: Tracheophyta
  • Class: Magnoliospida
  • Order: Brassicales
  • Class: Magnoliopsida Brongniart
  • Family: Capparidaceae A.L. de Jussieu, nom. cons.
  • Genus: Crataeva
  • Species: nurvala (Buch­Ham)


  • Crataeva magna (Lour.) DC.
  • Crataeva religiosa

Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Leaves, flower, root, bark

Plant type: Modicm size tree

Distribution: Wild as well as cultivated in gardens all over India.

Habitat: Along river banks of semi-evergreen forests

Flowering and Fruiting: February - May

Vernacular names/Synonyms

  • Latin name: Crataeva nurvala
  • Sanskrit: Varun, Varana, Tiktshaak, Setu, Ashmarighna, Kumarak
  • Hindi: Baruna, Barna
  • Bengali: Varne, Borun
  • English: Three­leaved caper, caper tree, Holy garlic pear
  • Gujarati: Vayvarno, Varano
  • Kannada: Bitusi, Holenekki, Holethumbe, Maavilanga, Mata maavu, Naaram bele, Vitasi, Neervaala mara, Sethu bandhana, Vaayu varuna, Nervaala, Bipatri, Mattamavu, Neervalamara
  • Kashmiri: Kath
  • Malyalam: Nirmatalam, Neermatalam, Nirval
  • Marathi: Haravarna, Karvan, Kumla, Nirvala, Ramala, Varun, Vaayuvarna
  • Punjabi: Barna, Barnahi
  • Oriya: Baryno
  • Tamil: Mavilingam, Narvala, Varanam, Maavilangam, Maralingam
  • Telugu: Ulimidi, Bilvaram, Chinnavulimidi, Maagalingam, Maaredu, Peddamaagalingam, Peddavulimidi, Thellavulimidi
  • Unani: Baranaa
  • Siddha: Maavilingam

Constituents of Crataeva nurvala

Crataeva nurvala contain wide variety of medicinally important chemical constituents viz. lupeol, sitosterol, rutin, quercitin, friedelin, diosgenin, sitosterol, butulinic acid and betulinaldehyde and many more.

Lupeol, the major component isolated from stem bark show antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-hepatotoxicity, antitumor, cytoprotective (process by which chemical compounds provide protection to cells against harmful agents), chemoprotective, antioxidant, and antiurolithic activity.

Main Active Compounds

  1. Lupeol
  2. β –sitosterol
  3. Betulinic Acid
  4. Quercetin
  5. Kaempferol
  6. Friedelin

Ayurvedic Properties and Action

In Ayurveda, the bark of Varun tree is considered bitter, astringent in taste (Ras), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is hot in effect (Virya). It is an Ushna Virya herb. Ushna Virya or hot potency herb, subdues Vata (Wind) and Kapha (Mucus). It has property of digestion, vomiting and purging, and gives feeling of lightness.

Varuna is used in Ayurveda to treat Vata-Kapha type Ashmari (calculi). It is indicated in all Kapha disorders of urinary tract.

  1. Rasa (taste on tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Tikta (Bitter)
  2. Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry)
  3. Virya (Action): Ushna (Heating)
  4. Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
  5. Action (Karma)
  6. Bhedi (purgative)
  7. Deepana (promote appetite but do not aid in digesting undigested food)
  8. Kapha-Vata har (Remover of the Humor of Kapha-Vata)
  9. Ashmarighna (disintegrates and expels stones)
  10. Shothagna (Reduces swelling and inflammation)
  11. Anulomna (anulomna means one which promote excretions and favour discharge)
  12. Krimighna (destroys worms)

Important Ayurvedic Formulations

  1. Varanadi Ghrita
  2. Varunadi Kwath Churna
  3. Varunadi kwath / Varanadi Kashaya
  4. Prabhanjana Vimardhana thailam

Important Medicinal Properties

  1. Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
  2. Anthelmintic: expel parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
  3. Astringent: causing the contraction of skin cells and other body tissues.
  4. Antiurolithic: preventing the formation of urinary calculi.
  5. Contraceptive: Prevents conception.
  6. Demulcent: relieving inflammation or irritation.
  7. Diuretic: Promoting excretion of urine/agent that increases the amount of urine excreted.
  8. Laxative: tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels.
  9. Tonic: Restore or improve health or well-being.

Benefits of Crataeva / Varuna

  1. It is effective herbal remedy for prevention and treatment of kidney stones.
  2. It cures various obstructive conditions of urinary tract.
  3. It reduces chronic inflammation.
  4. It improves appetite and digestive power.
  5. It detoxifies blood.
  6. It is a time-tested remedy.
  7. It can be taken safely by the people who suffer from recurrent stone formation.

Main Indication of Varuna

  1. Urolithiasis (formation of stons concretions in the bladder or urinary tract)
  2. Crystalluria (crystals in the urine)
  3. Urinary Tract infections
  4. Enlarged prostrate

Medicinal Uses of Varuna / Varana

Three­leaved caper or Varun tree has anti­fertility, analgesic, anti­diarrhoeal, anti­arthritic, cardioprotective, urolithic, antidiabetic and anti­inflammatory properties. The various parts Crataeva nurvala tree is internally and externally.

The decoction of leaves is taken orally for curing gas, pain in abdomen, anorexia, tumours, liver disorders, flatulent dyspepsia, helminthiasis and fever. Leaves can also be eaten in form of vegetable. Leaves intake in form of juice or vegetable acts as tonic.

The bark of tree is used to prepare decoction for curing painful urination, kidney stones and kidney cysts.

Blood Purification

Boil three gram dried leaves of tree in water, strain and drink.


Apply the paste of leaves / bark.

Bladder outlet obstruction, enlarged prostrate

The decoction of Varun bark is prepared and taken twice a day.


Dry the flower and leaves of Varun tree. Ground to make a powder. Boil this powder (3 gram) in water, filter and drink.

Prepare a powder by mixing, Varuna (25 grama) + Gokhru (25 grams) + Giloy (10 grams) + Sarpunkha leaves (10 grams) + Kantakari (10 grams) + Shatavari (10 grams) + Sonth (10 grams). Take 5 grams of this powder with water, twice a day.

Kidney diseases, Kidney stone, high serum creatinine level, increased blood urea

The decoction of bark is effective in treatment of diseases of kidney.

For stones, the decoction of Varun Bark + Gokhru + Kulthi ki Dal, is prepared and taken twice a day.

Renal/Ureteric Calculus

In kidney or urinary stones, the decoction of roots is taken in dose of 30 ml twice a day.


Its leaves and skin of bark are ground with water and this paste is applied externally on inflammation of

lymph nodes on neck, on pus, fluid filled wounds and rheumatic joints.

Spleen enlargement

Externally leaves pulp is applied on abdomen.

Throat swelling

Prepare a decoction by boiling Varun Bark powder (5 gram) + Trikatu (1 gram) + Vibhitaki (3 gram) in 400 ml water till water reduces to 100 ml. Filter and drink twice a day.


Decoction of Varun bark is taken twice a day.

Thyroid problems

Prepare a powder by mixing, Varun Bark (4 gram) + Kachnar Bark (4 gram) + Bala leaves (3 gram) + Mulethi root (3 gram) + Sonth Dry ginger powder (2 gram) + Haritaki (2 gram) + Vibhitaki (2 gram). Take 5 grams of this powder with water, twice a day.


For managing normal weight, make a powder by mixing, Varun Bark Powder (2½ spoon) + Haritaki Powder (1.5 spoon) + Vibhitaki Powder (1.5 spoon) + Amla Powder (1 spoon) + Gokhru fruit Powder (2.5 spoon) + Sonth Powder (1 spoon). Store the powder in air tight container and taken in dose of 2 teaspoon patient, twice a day with lukewarm water or mixed with honey.

The leaves are cooked as vegetables and eaten.


Boil Varun Bark (5 gram) + Triphala (3 gram), in water. Filter and drink.

Dosage of Crataeva nurvala

5 grams bark powder, twice day, is taken orally.

20-30 g of the bark powder for decoction. The decoction is prepared by boiling the herb powder in 400 ml water till it reduces to 100 ml. This is filtered and taken in dose of 50 ml, two times a day.

Warning, Contraindications and Toxicology

  1. It is completely safe to use Varuna. It is not a toxic plant.
  2. The decoction of the dried stem bark of the plant Crataeva have been found to possess significant antifertility effects in rats. They exhibited partial and complete resorption of implants at 300 and 600 mg/kg body weight dose levels respectively.
  3. Do not use in pregnancy without professional advice.
  4. Topical application of fresh leaf paste may cause blistering.
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