Thorny, red-stemmed annual growing to 2 ft (60 cm). Has bright blue flowers and small, flat, dark red seeds.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to India, gokulakanta is now widely distributed throughout tropical regions. It is gathered when in flower.
Aerial parts, root.
Gokulakanta contains mucilage, fixed and volatile oils, and an alkaloid.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Commonly used as a remedy in India, gokulakanta is taken chiefly for its reputed aphrodisiac properties. Both the aerial parts and ash of the burned plant are strongly diuretic, and are used to flush water from the body in cases of excess fluid retention.
The South American H. guayensis is bactericidal and has been used as a local treatment for the tropical disease, leishmaniasis.