Health Benefits of Hounds Tongue

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Hounds Tongue Quick Facts
Name: Hounds Tongue
Scientific Name: Cynoglossum officinale
Shapes 1/3 inch long
Hound’s-tongue grows on the roadsides and waste places in both Europe and America. It is a biennial herb rough, bristly and medium in size about 2–3 ft. high. Stems are hairy, leafy about 1-2 feet high, branched above arising from amidst large, radical, narrow and stalked leaves. The leaves are tongue-shaped, hoary with soft down on both sides. Flowers are blue to lavender, funnel form on terminal panicles, growing in clusters. The fruit, like Burdock, when dry sticks to livestock and hunting dogs. The leaves are bitter, and the root when fresh has an unpleasant heavy odour, diminishing when dry. It can be used in both fresh and dry stages, if when gathered it is properly dried and stored. Internally should be used by persons of professional experience.


Flowers are regular about 6 mm wide. Corolla is bluish violet initially turning brownish red-dark violet, bell shaped to funnel shaped and five lobed. Calyx is fused, bell shaped, 5-lobed almost till base and soft haired. Calyx lobes are elliptic. Gynoecium is fused and single styled.


Fruit is a 4-parted schizocarp, tip of carpels fused with body’s conical base. Mericarps are yellowish brown, cup like and outer surface have hooked hairs about 5-8 mm long.

Facts About Hounds Tongue

Name Hounds Tongue
Scientific Name Cynoglossum officinale
Common/English Name Gypsy Flower, Dog’s Tongue, Hounds-tongue, Houndstongue, Hound’s Tongue, Gypsyflower, Gypsy Flower, Rats and Mice, Houndstooth, Dog-bur, Sheep lice, Woolmat
Name in Other Languages Swedish: koirankieli, Norskt björnbär, Nutkahallon, Sötbjörnbär, Taggbjörnbär, Hundtunga;
Finnish: koirankieli, Poimuvatukka;
Danish: Almindelig Brombær, Læge-hundetunge
Plant Growth Habit Annual or biennial
Plant Size 30–70 cm (12–30 in.) high
Leaf Greyish, lanceolate to oblong, 1 to 12 inches long, 1 to 3 inches wide
Medicinal parts The leaves and root
Flowering Season May and September
Flower Reddish-purple funnel, 5-10 mm wide
Fruit shape & size 1/3 inch long
Seed Ovoid


  • The Indian’s knowledge of Hound’s-tongue was to cook the root for relief in colic, and as a poultice for scalds and burns.
  • It is chiefly valuable for coughs, catarrh, bleeding from the lungs and other disorders of the respiratory apparatus, the action of the root being cooling, drying and binding.
  • It is very soothing to the digestive organs in diarrhoea, dysentery and relief of piles.
  • It is used for dysentery and diarrhea.
  • It is also helpful for coughs, indigestion, catarrh, chronic bronchitis, colic, neuralgia, neuritis, colds and lung problems.
  • Use it externally for burns, scratches, bruises, snakebites, insect bites, tumors, piles, abrasions, scrofula, goiters, boils and difficult wounds.
  • Leaves and roots act as antispasmodic, antihaemorrhoidal, analgesic, digestive, astringent, slightly narcotic and emollient.
  • The plants are helpful to relieve pain.
  • Use it externally as a poultice on wounds, piles, bites, minor injuries and ulcers.
  • It is effective for insomnia.
  • Tea prepared from leaves and roots are used for colds, coughs, hemorrhoids, irritated membranes, dysentery and diarrhea.
  • Use the root decoction or as pills for cough, shortness of breath and colds in head.
  • Use the leaves boiled in wine as a cure for dysentery.


According to Herbalists of long experience, bruised Hound’s-tongue leaves applied to the lesion of a bite from a mad dog is the only medication needed. They also state that loss of hair from high fevers is controlled by bruising the leaves and making a salve with swine’s grease and massaging over the scalp.

The leaves and root are both applied with great benefit as a poultice to old ulcers, scrofulous tumours, burns, goitres and recent bruises and abrasions.

Russian Experience

If the Russian name, Sobachyi Yazik, were translated it would be the same as our common name, Dog’s tongue, but in literature it is used as Chernyi Koren—Black Root. Old Folk Medicine found many uses for Hound’s-tongue: to reduce pain, swelling of boils, cramps, coughs, tuberculosis and stomach aches. The leaves were collected when in flower, May to June; roots in late summer and early autumn. Recent literature usually warns against unexperienced use as it has a toxic effect if improperly administered.


It is used as a poultice for boils, wounds, ulcers and the bite of snakes or mad dogs. The powder mixed with grease, oil or lard as an ointment for rheumatic pains, and as Nastoika (with vodka) for wounds.


It is not unusual to find organic material poisonous to troublesome creatures such as insects and rodents. It has been proven that these creatures cannot stand the smell of Dog’s-tongue, and will leave the premises as soon as the aroma reaches them. It is said they will abandon ship and jump into the sea if there is a trace of this used as an insecticide.







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