Crataeva, a small tree, is perhaps best known in Ayurvedic medicine for alleviating edema, ascites, and a variety of kidney and bladder problems, especially urinary stones. It has been called the "Ayurvedic drug of choice for treating urinary disorders." In addition, the main active components, triterpenes (of which lupeol is notably effective for urinary stones), have been shown in laboratory experiments to have anti-inflammatory properties, potentially helpful for arthritis and hepatitis. Ayurvedic physicians have considered it a blood purifier and useful in treating swelling of the liver. The stem and root bark are the main parts used; the leaves are often collected together with the bark. An Indian name for the herb, Varuna, refers to one of the oldest of the Vedic deities, the maker of heaven and earth, king of the universe.
Formula for alleviating liver and urinary disorders
Crataeva combined with eclipta, picrorrhiza, and achillea (yarrow) represent herbs used in the Indian tradition as specific therapies for hepatic inflammation, a disorder which can have secondary effects on urinary secretion. Here, cassia seed, cichorium, and solanum, which are also useful for liver inflammation, are added to treat the fluid retention (ascites, for example, often accompanies hepatitis; edema may occur with changes in liver function as well as alterations in kidney filtration). Cichorium is commonly called chicory, and has properties similar to dandelion, including benefiting the liver and acting as a mild diuretic. Arjun (see separate page) has anti-inflammatory polyphenols and improves blood circulation. Eclipta has received considerable world-wide attention for its hepatoprotective actions.