Cynoglossum Officinale. Hound's Tongue.

Botanical name: 

Cynoglossums contain livertoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Read more here. -Henriette

Nat. Ord. — Boraginaceae. Sex. Syst. — Pentandria Monogynia,

The Leaves and Root.

Description. — This is a biennial plant, with an erect, silky-pubescent stem, growing from one to two feet in bight. The leaves are hoary, with soft down on both sides, lanceolate, acute, entire, — radical ones alternate at the base, petiolate, — cauline ones sessile, clasping, with rounded or slightly heart-shaped bases. The flowers are in terminal, panicled clusters, recurved at the end ; calyx downy, five-parted ; corolla reddish-purple, short, funnel-form, vaulted; throat or orifice closed by five converging, convex scales. Stamens shorter than the corolla. Achenia depressed, fixed laterally to the style ; seeds rough, with hooked prickles.

History. — This plant is common both in Europe and this country, growing in waste grounds and road-sides, and is named from the shape of its leaves ; it bears purple flowers in June and July. The leaves and root have been employed, but the latter are preferred. It has a disagreeable narcotic odor, resembling that of mice, which is dissipated by drying ; and a nauseous, bitterish, and mucilaginous taste. The fresh plant is much more active than the dried.

Properties and Uses. — Anodyne, demulcent and astringent, and has been used in coughs, catarrh, hemoptysis, diarrhea and dysentery. Externally, in the form of a poultice, it has been found highly beneficial in scrofulous tumors, burns, goitre, and may be applied to recent contusions or inflammations, with much advantage, also to remove the pain and soreness attending irritated, bruised, or chafed parts, giving complete and immediate relief, especially in excoriation of the feet from much traveling. The tincture or the application of the fresh leaves, bruised, will remove the swelling and ecchymosis consequent upon severe blows or bruises. The C. Amplexicaule, or Wild Comfrey, affords a root which may be substituted for the officinal Comfrey.

Cynoglossum Morrisoni, variously called Virginian Mouse-ear, Beggar's-lice, and Dysentery Weed, has been variously classified by Botanists, as Rochelia Virginiana, Myosotis Virginica, and Echinospermum Virginicum. It is an annual plant, with an erect, hairy, furrowed, very broadly branched and leafy stem, from two to four feet in bight. The leaves are from three to four inches long, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, entire, remote, tapering at the base, thin, minutely downy underneath, and scabrous above ; the lower ones petioled. The branches are slender and remote, each terminating in a centrifugal, divaricate, dichotomous, hairy, paniculate raceme, leafy-bracted at the base. The flowers are very small, white or pale-blue, the pedicels nodding in fruit. Fruit convex, densely covered with prickles having barbed points. This plant is common throughout the United States, growing in rocky grounds and among rubbish, and flowering in July. The whole plant has an unpleasant odor. The root is the part used, and imparts its virtues to water. It is mucilaginous, tonic, and astringent, and has been found very efficacious in diarrhea and dysentery. From its excellent effects in these diseases, it has acquired the popular name of Dysentery Hoot. The root may be chewed, or given in powder or infusion, ad libitum. It will, probably, be found useful in other diseases, where such a combination of properties is indicated.

The American Eclectic Dispensatory, 1854, was written by John King, M. D.