Gokulakanta is a stout, rough, thorny, slightly tall annual herb that grows vertically up to about one meter with no branches on the sides. The stem of the plant is thin and small, round, hairy and red in color. The leaves are simple, with waving or curling margins and the flowers are bright blue in color. The seeds are small, flat, round, dark red in color. The whole plant is covered with a soft hair growth. The herb is a tonic and stimulant.
The roots of gokulakanta contain an essential oil. Its seeds contain yellow semi-drying oil – that is, the oil which possesses the property to dry partially by evaporation. They also contain diastase, lipase and protease. An alkaloid is also present in the seeds in addition to these chemical substances.
Botanical Name: Asteracantha longifolia or Hygrophilia spinosa
Indian Name: Gokhulakanta
Below are some of the medicinal properties of gokulakanta:
- The ash of the gokulakanta 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 root is also useful for treating dropsy.
- The root of the plant is beneficial in treating liver disorders like jaundice and hepatitis. It is especially 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 liter of water for 20 to 30 minutes in a closed vessel. About 30 to 60 ml of this preparation is given two or three time a daily.
- Gokulakanta purifies blood and is beneficial in the treatment of anemia. A decoction of its root can be administered in the same manner as for liver disorders.
- The root of the plant is useful in the treatment of gonorrhea 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 gonorrhea. The mucilage obtained by infusing the seeds in water is also prescribed in gonorrhea urinary diseases and as a tonic.
- The drug is also effective in rheumatic afflictions such as rheumatism, arthritis and gout.
The leaves of gokulakanta can be taken by themselves or mixed with the leaves of holy basil. 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.