Hound's Tongue

Medical Herbs Catalogue

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Hound's Tongue

otanical: Cynoglossum officinale (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Boraginaceae


Synonyms: Lindefolia spectabilis. Dog's Tongue.
Part Used: Herb.



Hound's Tongue is a rough, bristly perennial, belonging to the Borage tribe. Its scientific name of Cynoglossum is derived from the Greek, and signifies ' Dog's Tongue,' from the shape and texture of the leaves, under which name, and still more frequently as Hound's Tongue, it is properly known.

It is a stout, herbaceous plant, found occasionally in this country on waste ground, though more frequently on the Continent, especially in Switzerland and Germany.

The stem, hairy and leafy, 1 to 2 feet high, branched above, arises from amidst large, narrow, radical, stalked leaves. In Culpepper's days, the root was also used in decoction and as pills for coughs, colds in the head and shortness of breath, and the leaves were boiled in wine as a cure for dysentery. He also tells us: 'Bruising the leaves or the juice of them boiled in hog's lard and applied helpeth to preserve the hair from falling and easeth the pain of a scald or burn. A bruised leaf laid to a green wound speedily heals the same. The baked roots are good for piles, also the distilled water of the herb and root is used with good effect for all the aforesaid purposes, taken inwardly or applied outwardly, especially as a wash for wounds or punctures.' Gerard says of this plant: 'It will tye the tongues of Houndes so that they shall not bark at you, if it be laid under the bottom of your feet,' and in his days the ointment and decoction were very generally reputed to be a cure for the bites of mad dogs.

In modern medicine it is often used internally and externally to relieve piles. It is soothing to the digestive organs.