Gojihva Onosma bracteatum: Uses, Remedies, Research, Side Effects

Onosma bracteatum is an Ayurvedic plant used for the treatment of stomatitis, wound, jaundice, constipation, weakness of the cardiac muscles and rhinitis etc. 

Latin name- Onosma bracteatum Wall.
Family- Boraginaceae (Shleshmataka Kula)

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name – Goaza, GanjabaGoziya
English name- Cow’s tongue / Lisanussoar, Sedge herb
Arabic name- Taharatulsanulshur or Lasanulshur
Bengali name- Gaozaban, Dadishaka
Gujarathi name- Bhopathsri
Kannada name- Yettina Nalage
Marathi name- Pathari
Parasi name- Kalamarumi
Telugu name- Yedunalaka chattu
Urdu name – Gaozaban

Sanskrit Synonyms

Kharaparnini Kharapatra- The leaf is rough
Matsyagandhi – Plant when crushed will emit fishy odour
Darpapatri- The leaf is thick
Darvika, Godhumika, Koshtamulika, Gobhi, Goli, Gojika


Gojihwa is a shrub growing to a height of 4- 5 m growing in the Himalayan range. The plant is covered with small hairs. The leaf is covered with small hair-like structures with small nodules giving it a rough appearance like the tongue of a cow; hence the name Gojihwa. The flowers are purple in color, thick and velvety.

Properties, part used, dosage

Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet), Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Snigdha (Slimy)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Karma (Actions) – Vatapitta shamaka (reduces vitiated vataa and pitta dosha)

Part used- Leaf, Flower, Root
Dosage-Leaf and Flower powder- 3 to 6 g, Decoction – 30 -40 ml


Bh. Pr. Ni – 2 Sources
1. Onosma bracteatum
2. Elephantopus scaber


Erect, stout herb
Leaves – Radical leaves are larger, cauline leaves are wide, acuminate tip.
Inflorescence – Capitate
Flowers – Dense silky heads
Fruits – Nutlets

Sanskrit verse

Chemical constituents

The leaves contain lycopsamine and supindine viridiflorate as the predom- inant unsaturated pyrrolizidine alka- loids. Due to low concentration of these alkaloids Borage is not toxic. The drug contains potassium and calcium, combined with mineral acids. The stems and leaves supply much saline mucilage. These saline qualities are mainly responsible for the wholesome invigorating properties of Borage. Flowers contain cholin, glucose, fructose, amino acids, tannin. Seeds contain protein and oil. The seed oil is one of the important sources of gamma-linoleic acid and linoleic acid.

Uses of Gojihwa

  • Ash prepared from the leaf of Gohiwa is used to treat stomatitis and wound after the application.
  • Decoction prepared from the leaf of Onosma bracteatum is used to treat jaundice and constipation.
  • Cold infusion prepared from the leaf is used to treat psychiatric conditions, epileptic conditions.
  • The cold infusion prepared from the flowers and fruits is given with Glycyrrhiza glabra powder in a dose of 50-60 ml to treat rhinitis and cough.
  • The cold infusion of the leaf is used as tonic, diuretic, demulcent and alternative, and is much prescribed as a tonic in rheumatism, syphilis, leprosy, hypochondriac’s and kidney disease.
  • The decoction prepared from the leaf of Onosma bracteatum is given in a dose of 30-40 ml to treat fever and difficulty in micturition.
  • The decoction of the plant relieves functional palpitation of the heart, irritation of the stomach and bladder.
  • The root powders are used in cutaneous eruption as external application.


Traditional indications:
Hima – coolant
Grahi – absorbent, useful in diarrhea, IBS
Hrudya – acts as cardiac tonic, congenial for heart
Kasa – cough, cold
Aruchi – anorexia
Shwasa – asthma and chronic respiratory disorders
Prameha – Urinary tract disorders, diabetes
Asra – blood disorders such as abscess, skin disorders, bleeding disorders such as menorrhagia, nasal bleeding etc.
Jwara – fever
Vrana – Ulcers, wounds

Adverse effect

On rubbing the leaf over the skin, it can cause abrasion. No adverse effect is known after the internal use of the plant Gojihwa.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicines

Formulations containing Gojihwa:
Gojihwadi kashaya: Gojihwadi Kashaya is an Ayurvedic medicine in water decoction form. It is used in the treatment of fever, cough, bronchitis, asthma, rhinitis etc

Manasamitra vatakam: Manasamitra Vatakam is a tablet, used in Ayurvedic treatment of psychiatric conditions, to improve intelligence, speech problems, depression and psychosis.

Abana tablet: It is a proprietary ayurvedic tablet useful to treat heart related disorders such as high cholesterol, cardiac pain etc.

Divya mukta vati: It is a proprietary ayurvedic tablet useful to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) due to increased cholesterol, heart disease, kidney disorder, tension, anxiety etc.


Research articles about Onosma bracteatum:
Anti- bacterial activity:  Aim of this research work was to evaluate the antibacterial activity of Opuntia dellenii and Onosma bracteatum plants against various pathogenic strains of bacteria.The hot and cold water extract of Opuntia dillenii and Onosma bracteatum were used against four bacterial strains Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilus, Staphylococcus aureus and Proteus mirabilis in order to check the antibacterial activity of these plants. The hot and cold water extract of Onosma bracteatum showed maximum activity against staphylococcus aureus while showed limited activity against other microorganisms.

Psychoimmunomodulatory action: The present study has evaluated the psycho immunomodulatory effects of O. bracteatum on the stress model in SD rats. The study therefore concluded that the extract of O. bracteatum showed a protective effect against the stress induced impaired immune functions and the psychological processes like memory and it also supported the traditional usage of O. bracteatum for the treatment of a variety of immune deficiency disorders (eg. asthma and rheumatoid arthritis) and abnormal memory disorders which included dementia.

Anti- microbial action: The fruit extracts of Onosma bracteatum were extracted with petroleum ether, acetone, methanol and aqueous solvents and screened for their antimicrobial activity against five bacteria and one fungi causing respiratory tract infections.  All extracts showed inhibitory activity against selected pathogens. The crude extracts showed varying levels of bactericidal activity.

Anti- diarrheoal action: The present study was carried out to evaluate the anti-diarrheal effect of ethanolic extract of Onosma bracteatum using castor oil and magnesium sulphate induced diarrhoea models in mice. At the doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg b.w, the ethanolic extract showed significant anti-diarrheal activity in both models.

Classical categorization

Charaka Samhita- Shaka varga
Vagbhata- Shaka varga
Bhavaprakasha- Guduchyadi varga
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu- Oushadhi varga

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: (unplaced)
Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Onosma L.

Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: drprashanthbk@gmail.com

Sthanika Karma (Systemic Action)

External Application – Reduce pain and burning sensation. Promote wound healing
Internal administration –
Nervous System – Strengthen nervous system, Indicated in mental disorders.
Digestive System – Indicated in Constipation, Jaundice etc. Facilitate proper movement of vata dosha. It has mild purgative action
Circulatory System – Indicated in Amavata (Rheumatic Heart disease), Weakness of heart etc.
Respiratory System – Pacifies kapha dosha. Indicated in Cough, Breathing difficulties, Asthma etc. In case of a runny nose its decoction can be administered along with Licorice.
Excretory System – It has diuretic action. Indicated in dysuria, Pus in urine etc.
Satmikarana – Promote body strength. Indicated in general debility.
Tapakrama – Reduce fever, also beneficial in thirst and burning sensation.

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