Botanical Name: Asteracantha longifolia or HygroPhila spinosa
Indian Name: Gokhulakanta
Description and Composition
Gokulakanta is a stout, rough, thorny, slightly tall annual herb. The stem of the plant is thin and small, round, hairy and red in colour. The plant grows vertically upto about one metre with no branches on the sides. The leaves are simple, with waving or curling margins and the flowers are bright blue in colour. The seeds are small, flat, round, dark red in colour. The whole plant is covered with a soft hair growth. The entire plant is used medicinally, specially its leaves and roots.
The roots of the plant contain an essential oil. Its seeds contain a yellow semi-drying oil-that is, the oil which possesses the property to dry partially by evaporation. They also containdiastase, lipase and protease. An alkaloid is also present in the seeds in addition to these chemical substances.
Healing Power and Curative Properties
The herb is a tonic and stimulant. It increases the secretion and discharge of urine and promotes libido. The ash of the plant serves as an excellent diuretic. It has a soothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes.
The ash of the plant is useful in treating dropsy, a disease marked by an excessive collection of watery fluids in the tissues or cavities of the body. The ash should be administered preferably with cow's urine in doses of 1.5 to 3 grams. The I1XX is also useful for treating dropsy.
The root of the plant is beneficial in the treatment of gonorrhoea and urinary disorders, including inflammation of the urinary tract and stone in the kidneys. Its decoction can be given in doses of 30 to 60 grams, twice or thrice a day. The decoction of its leaves can be used with confidence in case of syphilis and gonorrhoea. The mucilage obtained by infusing the seeds in water is also prescribed in gonorrhoea, urinary diseases and as a tonic.
The root of the plant is useful in treating liver disorders like jaundice and hepatitis. It is specially useful in hepatic derangement. A decoction of the root is administered in the treatment of such conditions. About 60 grams of the root is boiled in half a litre of water for 20 to 30 minutes in a dosed vessel. About 30 to 60 ml of this preparation is given two or three time daily.
The herb purifies blood and is beneficial in the treatment of anaemia. A decoction of its root can be administered in the same manner as for liver disorders.
The drug is also effective in rheumatic afflictions such as rheumatism, arthritis, and gout.
Methods for Uses and Dosages
The leaves of the plant do not have any noticeable taste. They contain a cellulose which is hard. The leaves can be taken by themselves or mixed with the leaves of holy basil (tulsi). The juice from 20 grams of leaves can be mixed with either buttermilk or coconut water or fruit juice. Two teaspoons of the powdered leaves can also be mixed with 120 to 180 ml of buttermilk or 100 ml of water.