• Name : Kokilaksha
  • English Name :
  • Scientific Name :Asteracantha longifolia, Hygrophila spinosa


A spiny, stout, annual herb, common in water logged places throughout the country.1

Morphology Description:

Root - Mostly adventitious, whitish to brown; no characteristic odour and taste.

Stem - Usually unbranched, fasciculate, sub-quadrangular, swollen at nodes, covered with long hairs which are numerous at the nodes, externally greyish-brown, creamish brown in cut surfaces; no characteristic odour and taste.

Leaf - Greenish-brown, 1-7 cm long, 0.5-1 cm wide, subsessile, lanceolate, acute, entire and hairy.

Flower - Yellowish-brown, usually occurring in apparent whorls of eight (in 4 pairs) at each node; bracts about 2.5 cm long, with long white hairs; calyx 4-partite, upper sepal 1.6-2 cm long, broader than the other three, which are 1.3 cm long, all linear-lanceolate, coarsely hairy on the back and with hyaline ciliate margins; corolla 3.2 cm long, widely 2 lipped, tube 1.6 cm long, abruptly swollen at top; stamens 4, didynamous, second pair larger; filament quite glabrous; anthers two celled, subequal, glabrous; ovary two celled with 4 ovules in each cell; style filiform, pubescent; stigma simple, involute with a fissure on upper side. Fruit - Two celled, linear-oblong, compressed, capsule about 0.8 cm long, pointed, 4-seeded. Seed - Ovate, flat or compressed, truncate at the base, 0.2-0.25 cm long and 0.1 - 0.15 cm wide, hairy but appearing smooth; when soaked in water immediately get coated with mucilage, light brown; taste slightly bitter and odour not distinct.1

Parts Used:            Whole Plant, Root, Seed1


The plant contains terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, and is traditionally known as an aphrodisiac, renal tonic, and for its health-promoting properties.2

As per Ayurveda:

Rasa (Taste)                  Sweet, Sour, Bitter

                                          Seeds - Sweet

Guna (Property)             Unctuous

Veerya (Potency)           Cold

Vipaka (End Result)      Sweet

Pharmacological Actions:

The primary pharmacological actions of this therapeutic herb are summarized as under:

Digestive System: 

i. Exerts hepatoprotective effect.3 

ii. The seeds have been observed to exhibit anti-tumor effect in experimentally-induced hepatocarcinogenesis.4

Reproductive System: 

i. Improves sperm count and fructose level in seminal vesicles.5

Urinary System: 

i. Possesses nephroprotective activity.6

ii. The aerial parts of Hygrophila spinosa are endowed with antiurolithiatic activity.7


i. An ethanolic extract of Asteracantha longifolia effectively restored the hematological parameters, serum iron and serum protein and normalized the microcytic (smaller in size), anisocytosis (disturbed shape) and hypochromic RBCs. These observations could justify the inclusion of this plant in the management of iron deficiency anemia due the presence of iron and other constituents as flavonoids, terpenoids, steroids, lupeol and betulin.8


 Impotency and Infertility related disorders in Men

 Anemia

 Dysuria

 Leucorrhea

 General Debility


1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part-1, Vol-II.

2. Kshirsagar AD, Ingale KG, Vyawahare NS, Thorve VS. Hygrophila spinosa: A comprehensive review. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jul;4(8):167-71.

3. Shailajan S, Chandra N, Sane RT, Menon S. Effect of Asteracantha longifolia Nees. against CCl4 induced liver dysfunction in rat. Indian J Exp Biol. 2005 Jan;43(1):68-75.

4. Ahmed S, Rahman A, Mathur M, et al. Anti-tumor promoting activity of Asteracantha longifolia against experimental hepatocarcinogenesis in rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2001 Jan;39(1):19-28.

5. Chauhan NS, Sharma V, Dixit VK. Effect of Asteracantha longifolia seeds on the sexual behaviour of male rats. Nat Prod Res. 2011 Sep;25(15):1423-31.

6. Ingale KG, Thakurdesai PA, Vyawahare NS. Protective effect of Hygrophila spinosa against cisplatin induced nephrotoxicity in rats. Indian J Pharmacol. 2013 May-Jun;45(3):232-6.

7. Ingale KG, Thakurdesai PA, Vyawahare NS. Effect of Hygrophila spinosa in ethylene glycol induced nephrolithiasis in rats. Indian J Pharmacol. 2012 Sep-Oct;44(5):639-42.

8. Pawar RS, Jain AP, Lodhi S, Singhai AK. Erythropoietic activity of Asteracantha longifolia (Nees.) in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 May 27;129(2):280-2.

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