Plectranthus amboinicus

Botanical Name : Plectranthus amboinicus
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Plectranthus
Species: P. amboinicus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names:Cuban oregano, Spanish thyme, Orégano Brujo (Puerto Rico), Indian Borage, Húng chanh (Vietnam), Big Thyme (Grenada) Mexican thyme, and Mexican mint

Habitat : Plectranthus amboinicus is native to Southern and Eastern Africa, but widely cultivated and naturalised in the Old and New World Tropics.

Description:
Plectranthus amboinicus is a tender fleshy perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae with an oregano-like flavor and odor.

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It  is now very commonly grown as a potted plant in many households. Plectranthus amboinicus is a fast growing plant. Propagation is via stem cuttings. To encourage a bushy plant, cut the tip of the top, insert into the soil and instantly, you have another plant as the cutting will grow within days.The Indian Borage ideally should be grown in a semi-shaded and moist location as the leaves will remain a beautiful jade-green colour. If it is getting too much sun, the leaves turn yellow, start curling and look unsightly; if not enough sun, the leaves turn a dark shade of green and spaced out.

Cultivation:
The herb grows easily in a well-drained, semi-shaded position. It is frost tender and grows well in sub-tropical and tropical locations, but will do well in cooler climates if grown in a pot and brought indoors, or moved to a warm sheltered position in winter. Water only sparingly.

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Uses:
The leaves are strongly flavoured and make an excellent addition to stuffings for meat and poultry. Finely chopped, they can also be used to flavour meat dishes, especially beef, lamb and game.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves have had many traditional medicinal uses, especially for the treatment of coughs, sore throats and nasal congestion, but also for a range of other problems such as infections, rheumatism and flatulence. In Indonesia Plectranthus amboinicus is a traditional food used in soup to stimulate lactation for the month or so following childbirth.

The herb is also used as a substitute for oregano in the food trade and food labelled “oregano-flavoured” may well contain this herb.

In Kerala in India this is called as “panikoorka” and has various uses in treating cold / cough / fever in infants.

Used traditionally within Ayurvedic and Unani Tibb herbal medicine to help reduce inflammation and is prescribed for bronchitis and asthma. It is reputed to very effective as a treatment for coughs. Old people says that it is often referred to as “pokok asthma”.  The fresh leaves are pounded and the extracted juice mixed with water.  An alternative method recommended is to boil a sprig in water with honey thrown in for added measure.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plectranthus_amboinicus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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