Bala is a popular herb in the Ayurvedic world, and it translates to "strength" in English. All parts of this herb possess unique and various medicinal properties, especially the root. Bala is successful in managing weight as it helps in suppressing appetite and prevents the urge to overeat. Due to its hypoglycemic properties, it can manage the body’s blood sugar as well.
Bala possesses antioxidant and hepatoprotective activity, which protects the liver cells against cell damage, which is caused by free radicals. Its antioxidant property also protects heart cells against free radical damage and does not allow constriction in blood vessels as it helps to manage blood pressure. This herb has blood coagulant and astringent properties, which may be beneficial for those who suffer from bleeding piles.
Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties relieve an individual with symptoms of rheumatism like joint pains and swelling. Therefore, it is advised to massage your joints with Bala oil. According to Ayurveda, when its powder is consumed with honey and milk, it is capable of fixing erectile dysfunction in men because of its vajikarna (aphrodisiac) property. It even boosts immunity due to its Rasayana (rejuvenating) property and helps in healing wounds quickly because of its ropan (healing) property and sita (cold) nature.
Different names for Bala
Sida cordifolia, Kisangi, Balu, Badiananla, Heartleaf Sida, Chikana, Khiranti, Nilatutti, Antisa, Barila, White burr etc.
Traditional use and Health benefits of Bala
In the ancient Indian system, this herb is used for enhancing the strength of bones, muscles, and joints and basically increases the overall strength of the body. It is also used for beautifying oneself and is often in conjunction with Ashoka and Shatavari. These are the other herbs used for beautifying women.
Bala greatly benefits respiratory health. According to the ancient Indian healing system, Bala is known as “sheet virya" or "cool potency" herb. It subdues the bile and wind and increases the mucus in the body. This means that it supports the building of fluids and nourishes the body, and gives it steadiness. Along with these properties, it also has an anti-spasmodic action, and together, all of them act as a preventive measure for asthma attacks, alleviates dry cough, and bronchitis. Besides its ayurvedic use in India, it is also used in Brazilian folk medicine to treat inflammation of the oral mucosa, asthmatic bronchitis, asthma, and nasal congestions. It is also used in various parts of Africa, especially for respiratory problems. This herb is known as an anti-inflammatory for preventing cell proliferation and for also encouraging liver re-growth. It also affects the central nervous system and the heart due to its ephedrine content, which possesses psychostimulant properties.
Benefits of Bala in treating various ailments
It is beneficial in helping individuals with fatigue.
Fatigue is used to describe the feeling of tiredness, weakness, or the lack of energy a person is going through. In Ayurveda, an individual goes through fatigue when there is an imbalance. This is referred to as klama. And Kaphadosha is the primary dosha that is the imbalance.
Bala greatly helps in reducing symptoms of fatigue due to its Balya (strength provider) and Tridosha balancing nature.
● Take ¼-1/2 teaspoon of Bala powder and mix it with honey and milk. Consume it twice daily after your meals. This helps in managing symptoms of fatigue.
- Erectile Dysfunction
According to modern science, this herb is beneficial for individuals suffering from erectile dysfunctions (ED). It contains ephedrine, which acts as a mood-altering drug. It is also a stimulant and affects the central nervous system.
Bala does not only helps to increase the duration of erection but also controls the ejaculation during sexual activities.
Sexual dysfunction in men can be due to various reasons. It can either be the loss of libido or having no desire for sexual activities. It can also be due to low erection time or early ejaculation, also known as "premature ejaculation."
Bala helps in managing such an ailment and maintain a healthy sex life. It is capable of reducing symptoms of sexual weakness like erectile dysfunction and help in delaying ejaculation. This is mainly because of its Vijaykarna (aphrodisiac) properties.
● Take ¼ -1/2 teaspoon of bala powder and mix it with milk and honey
● Consume it twice daily after your meals
● Repeated use can efficiently improve sexual health.
- Inflammation of the airways (bronchitis)
Bala constitutes anti-inflammatory, adaptogenic, and immunomodulatory properties, which has proved to be greatly beneficial for asthma and bronchitis symptoms.
Ephedrine, vasicinone, vasicine, and vasicinol in Bala act as bronchodilators. Which helps in the dilation of the bronchial tubes and provides relief from bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
The main doshas present in respiratory problems are Vata and Kapha, and Bala has proven to help treat such problems.
According to Ayurveda, Vata combines with the deranged Kaphadosha in the lungs, which causes interference in the respiratory passage, resulting in bronchitis.
Bala balances the Vata-Kaphadoshas and allows the smooth passing of oxygen. It also increases immunity due to its Rasayana (rejuvenating ) property.
● Take ¼-1/2 teaspoon of bala powder
● Mix it with honey
● Consume it twice daily after your meals
● It is advised to continue consumption until it relieves you from the symptoms of bronchitis.
- Common Cold
Bala constitutes adaptogenic and immunomodulatory properties, which boosts immunity and does not allow the cold or its symptoms to occur repeatedly. Therefore, it is highly beneficial for common cold symptoms.
Bala is able to help symptoms of cold because it helps in balancing the Kapha and remove the mucosa from the lungs. It is also beneficial in boosting immunity.
● Take ¼-1/2 teaspoon of Bala powder
● Mix it with milk and honey
● Consume it twice daily
● Repeat its use till it relieves you of your symptoms
- Influenza (flu)
The way Bala helps in managing symptoms of the common cold, it is also quite effective when it comes to handling influenza or flu. It has adaptogenic and immunodepository properties and can boost the immune system and fight the flu and not allow its recurrence or similar symptoms.
In Ayurveda, influenza or flu is known as “VataShleshmikaJwara." the flu is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.
According to Ayurveda, the vata, kapha, and pitta dosha is disturbed when there is a change in season, and this eventually leads to the individual having the flu. It is without a doubt that Bala can help fight such seasonal changes and bring back balance into the body.
● Take ¼-1/2 teaspoon of Bala powder
● Mix it with honey
● Consume twice daily after food
● Repeat its usage until you feel relief from the flu.
According to modern science, Bala is highly beneficial for people suffering from obesity. Since this herb contains ephedrine and norephedrine, it directly acts on the central nervous system. This helps in suppressing appetite, does not encourage overeating, and promotes weight loss. Bala also helps control blood sugar levels as it is one of the main contributors to being overweight.
- Nasal Congestion
Because of its anti-inflammatory property, Bala reduces the inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane. Therefore, proving to be of great help in the management of nasal congestion.
Precautions when using Bala
Although it is safe to consume this herb in food, the number of certain compounds are present, which may trigger or worsen anxiety as this certain compound affects the nervous system. It is highly recommended that you consult with your respective doctor before using Bala for consumption.
Consuming Bala supplements is proven to have many health benefits but only when consumed in the food amount. Although its proven health benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone and may worsen thyroid problems. That's why it is advised to consult with your respective doctor before consumption.
3. Kidney Stones
This herb is said to cause kidney stones if consumed wrongly. Any supplement or herb is always supposed to be consulted with a professional health care practitioner as this herb might clash with the medicines prescribed to the patient.
Bala is said to be capable of dilating the pupils and cause side effects for those suffering through glaucoma. However, it is generally safer to consume this in the food amount. It is recommended to consult with your doctor before consumption of Bala.
Bala is not recommended for women who are pregnant or is breastfeeding. It is said to have bad side effects for the baby. Anyone under the age of eighteen should consume this herb.
While consuming Bala powder or supplements with the prescribed anti-diabetic drugs provided by your health care professional, it is of utmost importance to monitor the blood glucose level as this herb can lower the blood glucose level. If not kept in check, it may cause severe problems for the individual.
7. Heart Disease
Bala is capable of slowing down the heartbeat, also known as Bradycardia. This is because of the compound which is present in this herb. It is generally recommended to always consult with your health care professional first before consuming Bala powder or supplements along with the given anti-hypertensive drugs. It is also of extreme importance that you regularly monitor your heart rate and blood pressure while using these drugs.
Bala is not recommended for pregnant women as this might cause harmful side effects to the mother as well as the baby. It is advised to seek a doctor's consultation before consuming any sort of supplements or drugs.
Side effects and risks
● Bala is capable of speeding up heart rate and increasing blood pressure.
● It causes restlessness
● It suppresses appetite
● It can induce nausea and vomiting
● It also produces an aphrodisiac effect.
● It is capable of causing insomnia.
● Mixing this herb with alcohol or caffeine and consuming it can prove to be highly dangerous.
● Besides causing insomnia, it also causes hand tremors and a general feeling of anxiety. This can prove to be a bigger burden to those with existing anxiety disorders.
● Some of its users have experienced a pounding heart rate, shortness of breath, and severe headaches in extreme cases.
● It is advised not to consume this herb if you have a family history of heart diseases or high blood pressure.
● Not to be used for pregnant women or if they are breastfeeding.
● Consuming this herb while also taking antidepressants that contain MHO inhibitors is not recommended.
The recommended dosage to be consumed
● Bala Powder – ¼ - ½ teaspoon twice daily after your meals.
● Bala Capsule – one to two capsules is recommended to be consumed twice a day.
● Bala Juice – one to two teaspoons is to be consumed twice a day.
How to use Bala
- Take ¼ - ½ teaspoon of BalaChurna
- Mix it with milk and honey
- And consume it twice daily after food.
2. Bala Capsule
- Take one to two capsules
- Consume the capsule along with water twice daily after your meals.
3. Bala Juice
- Take one to two teaspoons of Bala juice
- Mix it with the same quantity of water
- It is recommended to consume it once or twice a day before having your meals.
4. Bala Tea
- Soak about one teaspoon of dried bala herb or bala powder in a cup
- Boil it until the water has been reduced to half
- Drink it hot or keep in the fridge and consume it later as per convenience.
External use and benefits of Bala
- Joint Pains
According to Ayurvedic knowledge, the joints of the body are considered as a site of Vata. And the pain which the individual faces in the joints is usually because of the imbalance of this specific Vata. Applying Bala powder or oil in the affected areas will greatly help those in pain due to its Tridosha or the vata balancing property. In retrospect, Bala oil and powder is effective in helping to reduce joint pain when applied to the affected areas.
Tip –Take one or ½ teaspoon of bala powder
- And make a paste by mixing it with water.
- Take bala oil as per your requirement and convenience
- Apply it or massage it on the affected area
- Keep repeating it until you feel some relief from the joint pain
We know that paralysis is a condition where a part of the whole body loses function. This is one of the most serious conditions an individual can go through, and it is extremely difficult to lead a normal life. A person who suffers through paralysis is usually dependent on others, which may cause great pressure and stress, not only on the patient but also on his/her family and friends.
According to the Ayurvedic experts, paralysis occurs because of the imbalance of the vatadosha that governs the body's motor and sensory functions. Preparing oil with bala can soothe paralysis symptoms, and massaging it on the affected area may provide some strength. This is mainly because of its vata balancing and balya (strength provider) properties.
Tip – take ½ to one teaspoon of Bala powder.
- Turn it into a paste by mixing it with water.
- Take Bala oil as per your requirement and convenience.
- Apply and massage it on the affected areas
- It is recommended to use this multiple times to properly manage the symptoms.
- Wound Healing
Wounds can take time to heal, and some may even cause infections and scars. Many people are conscious about the appearance of their bodies, and wounds can act as huge stressors. It is important to be careful of our surroundings to keep ourselves safe and not hurt ourselves too badly. Big wounds may take a long time to heal, and some may not. Although it also depends from person to person and the kind of lifestyle they lead.
Due to its Ropan (healing) properties, Bala can successfully and quickly heal the wound, decrease swelling, and bring back the skin's normal texture. It also reduced inflammation and provides a cooling effect due to its sita (cold) nature.
Tip – take one to two teaspoons of Bala powder.
- Make a paste by mixing it with coconut oil.
- Apply it on the affected area once or twice a day
- It is recommended to use it repeatedly for the best results.
Q. What role does Bala play in treating diabetes?
A. Bala contains hypoglycemic properties that greatly help in reducing the increased levels of glucose in the blood. And the antioxidant property of this herb lowers the risk of diabetic complications. Therefore, Bala plays an important role in treating diabetes.
Q. Is Bala good for the liver?
A. According to modern science, Bala does prove to be effective in treating and preventing damage to the cells of the liver; it contains antioxidants and hepatoprotective properties that look after the liver’s health. It also helps in regeneration by forming new liver cells.
Now, when we look at it from an Ayurvedic perspective, it also says that Bala is proven to be quite useful in treating liver problems. It helps to protect the liver as well as maintain a healthy digestive system. This is mainly because of its Rasayana (rejuvenating) property.
Q. How does Bala help the heart?
A. Scientifically, bala is good for the heart. It constitutes of antioxidants and cardioprotective properties. It also helps in inhibiting something called "lipid peroxidation." This means that there is degradation in lipid due to free radicals and prevents blood vessels' damage. Bala has also proven to be helpful in maintaining blood and reduce blood pressure.
Bala has proven to be good for the heart, even in the Ayurvedic perspective. It is able to provide strength by protecting the muscles of the heart and makes sure that it functions properly. This is because of its Rasayana (rejuvenating) property. Bala is also able to maintain normal blood pressure mainly because of its mutral (diuretic) nature.
Q. Is Bala good for those suffering through piles?
A. Science has once again proven the benefits of Bala. It does help treat bleeding piles or hemorrhoids because it can act as a blood coagulant. Hemorrhoids occur when an individual puts excessive strain while passing stool. It can even be due to severe constipation, which may lead to hemorrhoids in the anal area of the body where there are bleeding and tear. Since Bala acts as a blood coagulant, it successfully coagulates the blood in the anal region, preventing the loss of blood that is passed in the feces.
Even according to the Ayurvedic view, Bala has proven to be effective for individuals suffering through piles. It believes that this happens because of an imbalance of the pitta dosha, which leads to pain, burning, irritable sensation, and even bleeding in the anal region. The pitta balancing properties, ropan (healing), and kashay (astringent) contributes to the quick healing of piles, at the same time providing the body with a cooling effect on the affected area because of its sita (cold) property.
A tip for managing painful hemorrhoids is to take 10gm of bala powder and boiling it with 80ml of water. It is advised to boil it till it reduces to 20ml. The liquid is then strained, and a cup of milk should be added to it. Consuming this in the morning is said to provide relief of hemorrhoids.
Q. Is Bala helpful for Tuberculosis?
A. Tuberculosis occurs when there is damage to the lung tissues, also known as cavitation, which further encourages the spread of infections. Scientific studies believe that Bala can promote the healing of these damaged lung tissues and fight the further spread of infections.
When there is an imbalance of vata and kaphadosha, it leads to internal weakness where the individual is more susceptible to tuberculosis related infections. Along with Bala’svata and kapha balancing properties, the balya (strength) property can also provide internal strength and stamina to the body and prevent any symptoms related to tuberculosis.
A tip for managing the symptoms of tuberculosis is to take ¼ to ½ teaspoons of balachurna. Then mixed with milk and honey and consumed twice a day.
( Disclaimer : The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or ayurvedic doctor. )