(Last Updated on : 05/12/2013)
Gokhru is a pubescent annual herb with prostrate primary branches. This plant is mainly found in drier regions on sandy soils in India. The Botanical name of this plant is Tribulus terrestris. Gokhru is known by different names in different Indian languages like Betagokhru, Gokharu, Bethu, Nahanagokhru and Mithagokhru in Gujarati, Negilmullu, Negalu and Sanna Neggila in Kannada, Nerinnil, Nerinjil, Nerinjeekai (Fruits) and Nerungil in Malayalam, Gakhura and Gokshra in Oriya, Gok-Sura, Gokshura, Goksurah, Ikshugandha, Trikantaka and Svadamstra in Sanskrit, Chinnipalleru, Pallerukayalu (Fruits) and Chirupalleru in Telugu, Chotagokhru and Gokhru in Hindi, Negilmullu in Konkani
, Lahangokharu, Ghokaru, Sarala and Sharatte in Marathi, Bakhra, Gokhrudesi, Bhukri and Lotak in Punjabi, Nerunji, Nerinjeekai (Fruits) and Sirunerinji in Tamil and Gokharu in Urdu.
Gokhru is more or less a pubescent annual herb with prostrate or decumbent primary branches which is up to 1.5 meters long radiating from the crown of the taproot. The roots of this plant are slender, cylindrical, somewhat fibrous, 10 to 15 centimetres long, light brown and faintly aromatic. The leaves of this plant are opposite, paripinnate, up to 5.5 centimetres long, one of each pair usually smaller than the other. The leaflets are of 3 to 6 pairs and are 6 to 12 millimetres long, oblong to linear-oblong, with silky hairs on surfaces, apex mucronate, base rounded oblique and petioles are very short. Flowers of this Indian plant are pale-yellow to yellow in colour and are 0.7 to 2 centimetres in diameter. The leaves are opposed and solitary and the pedicels are 1.2 to 2 centimetres long, slender and hairy. The sepals are 6 millimetres long, lanceolate and acute and the petals are one centimetre long, oblong-obovate, claw short and hairy. The fruits of Gokhru are globose and possess 5 to 12 woody cocci, each with 2 pairs of hard, sharp, divaricate spines, with one pair longer than the other. There are several seeds in each coccus with transverse partitions between them. The fruits and flowers in this plant are available throughout the year.
Gokhru is native to the Mediterranean region and the same was introduced and naturalized nearly throughout the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate regions of the world. It is regarded as a common weed which is found in all parts of India, mainly in the drier regions on sandy soils at an altitude of about 5400 meters in Kashmir.
The fruits of Gokhru are credited with diuretic, cooling, tonic, demulcent and aphrodisiac properties. They are used in Ayurveda
in the treatment of kidney stones, painful urination and other genito-urinary disorders, mainly in the form of an infusion. They are also prescribed for the treatment of breathing difficulties, diabetes, rheumatism, piles, dropsy, heart diseases, impotence and Bright's disease. The leaves of this medicinal plant of India are considered to possess stomachic properties, and a paste prepared from them is used in the treatment of bladder stones. The root of Gokhru is considered to have aperient and tonic properties, and is a constituent of the Ayurvedic drugs Dasamula and Amritha prasa ghritha. The fruits of this plant are used in various major compound Ayurvedic preparations.