Bala (Sida cordifolia) is native to tropical regions of India and Sri Lanka. The plant is considered to be one of the most valuable medicinal plants in Ayurveda, the ancient traditional medical system of India. Bala is said to contain five of the six tastes, a rare property, indicating that it provides nourishment from the five mahabhutas (earth, water, fire, air, and space). Bala has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including aching joints and bones, asthma, chills, colds, cough, fever, flu, headache, nasal congestion, nerve pain, wheezing, and wounds, and it has been used as an aphrodisiac.
Bala is associated with Parvathi, the ancient Hindu goddess of beauty and grace. The herb is part of a trio of "beautifying" herbs, together with ashoka and shatavari, associated with women in Indian herbal folk medicine.
In India, bala is incorporated in many types of products, including moisturizing creams, massage and baby oils, and shampoo. Bala contains ephedrine, and several nutritional companies include it in weight loss products.
Despite its long history of traditional medicinal use, clinical evidence supporting the use of bala to treat any condition in humans is lacking.
Alkaloids, asparagin, bala (Sanskrit), barial, bariar, batyalaka, beejband, bhadraudanī (Sanskrit), bijabanda, bijband, brela, chikana, chiribenda, chitimutti, coronaric acid, country mallow, ephedrine, essential oils, flannel weed, fumaric acid, gelatin, hettuti-gida, hypaphorine, Indian ephedra, janglimethi, kharenti, khareti (Hindi), kisangi, kungyi, mallow plant, malva branca (Brazil), malva-branca-sedosa (Brazil), Malvaceae (family), malvalic acid, mayir-manikham, mucin, muttuva, palmitic acid, paniyar-tutti, phytosterols, potassium nitrate, rutin, samāmsa (Sanskrit), samangā (Sanskrit), Sida althaeitolia, Sida cordifolia spp., Sida herbacea, Sida rotundifolia, silky white mallow, simak, śītapāki (Sanskrit), stearic acid, sterculic acid, svarayastika (Sanskrit), tupkaria, tutturabenda, vasicine, vasicinol, vasicinone, vatya (Sanskrit), vatyālaka (Sanskrit), vātyodarāhava (Sanskrit), velluram, white mallow.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.