Clerodendranthus spicatus (Thunb.) C.Y.Wu
Clerodendranthus stamineus (Benth.) Kudô
Clerodendrum spicatum Thunb.
Ocimum grandiflorum Blume
Orthosiphon grandiflorus Bold.
Orthosiphon spicatus (Thunb.) Backer, Bakh.f. & Steenis
Orthosiphon spiralis (Lour.) Merr.
Orthosiphon stamineus Benth.
Orthosiphon tagawae Murata
Orthosiphon velteri Doan
Trichostema spirale Lour.
Common Name: Java Tea
Flowers and leaves
Photograph by: Mokkie
Java tea is a perennial plant growing from 25 - 200cm tall[
The leaves are a popular herbal remedy, used on their own and also in combination with various other herbs. The plant is cultivated for its medicinal uses, and is sold in quantity to various countries, especially in Europe[
]. The plant is also sometimes grown as an ornamental[
E. Asia - China, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia.
]. Thickets, regrowths, grasslands and along forest borders and roadsides, often in shaded not too dry localities, but also in sunny places, at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
The plant has escaped from cultivation and become naturalised in some areas[
Harvest usually starts 8 - 10 weeks after planting, at the beginning of flowering. Every 2 - 3 weeks the upper 4 - 10 leaves of shoots are plucked by hand[
Annual yields of dry leaves amount to 1,500 kg/ha[
Smallholders usually sun-dry leaves. In estate farming artificial drying is practised. To obtain a high-quality product, the leaves are first withered in the air, and then dried at 45 - 50°c. Dried leaves of good quality are green (a blackish colour is due to overheating or contact with metal containers), have a good aroma, a moisture content below 14%, a bitter taste, an ash content of about 10%, a contamination content of less than 2%, and do not contain insects or fungi[
Three cultivars of Orthosiphon aristatus are distinguished: one with bluish-violet and two with white flowers. The white-flowered cultivar with reddish stems, petioles and leaf veins appears to possess the best diuretic qualities[
Java tea is a popular herbal remedy in southeast Asia and is also commonly exported to Germany and various other countries. Research has confirmed the presence of a number of medically active compounds and also the diuretic action of the leaves[
The leaves contain flavones (including sinensetin), saponins, a glycoside (orthosiphonin), an essential oil and large amounts of potassium (which is largely responsible for the diuretic effect)[
In tests with healthy volunteers in Thailand, extracts of the plant increased excretion of citrate and oxalate. Although a higher level of oxalate may increase the risk of kidney stones, the increased citrate output helps prevent stone formation[
It has been demonstrated that Java tea has anti-microbial properties. Aqueous extracts markedly inhibited the growth of both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria[
]. Saponins may play a role in bacteriostatic activity in vitro[
]. Caffeic acid derivatives (which represent as much as 95% of the phenolic substances present in a hot water extract) may also be responsible for the antibiotic activity[
The lipophilic flavonoids, of which sinensetin and tetramethylscutellarein are the most abundant, have shown inhibitory effect against Ehrlich ascites tumour cells in vitro[
]. Additionally, these flavonoids may be partially responsible for anti-inflammatory effects, since flavonoids are inhibitors of cyclo-oxygenase and lipoxygenase[
The crude herb is said to cause vomiting[
The leaves are strongly diuretic and are believed to increase the kidneys' ability to eliminate nitrogen-containing compounds[
]. They are used in the treatment of kidney infections, kidney stones and poor renal function as a result of chronic nephritis[
]. They are also used in the treatment of cystitis, urethritis and gout[
They are used, in combination with other plants such as Sonchus spp or Barleria spp, to stimulate the kidneys and as a medicine for nephritis, gallstones and diabetes[
Combined with the leaves of Blumea balsamifera and Phyllanthus fraternus, plus the rhizomes of Curcuma xanthorrhiza, the leaves are used to treat jaundice[
Combined with the leaves of Andrographis paniculata, they are used to treat diabetes[
In mixtures with the leaves of other plants, they are also used against gout, rheumatism and arteriosclerosis[
Stem cuttings, 15 - 20cm long, which have some buds[
]. Cuttings are usually planted in shade, with 40 - 60cm between plants and rows. Often 4 - 6 cuttings are placed in one hole. Direct planting in the field or in the backyard, as is most common, can be done all the year round, but the usual time of planting is at the beginning of the rainy season. For plantations, planting in a nursery for a period of 45 days with the cuttings placed vertically with only one bud visible is preferred[