Basilicum myriostachyum (Benth.) Kuntze
Basilicum riparium (Hochst.) Kuntze
Gumira ferruginea (A.Rich.) Kuntze
Iboza riparia (Hochst.) N.E.Br.
Moschosma myriostachyum Benth.
Moschosma riparium Hochst.
Plectranthus riparius Hochst.
Premna ferruginea A.Rich.
Common Name: Ginger Bush
Cultivated plant at Palheiro Gardens, Madeira
Photograph by: Hedwig Storch
Ginger bush is a tall shrub with sticky, aromatic foliage, growing up to 3 metres tall with occasional specimens reaching 5 metre[
The plant is a popular traditional medicine throughout its range. It is also grown as an ornamental, being valued especially for its flowers[
Southern Africa - Angola to Mozambique, south to S. Africa.
Along river banks, forest margins, dry wooded valleys and hillsides in areas where there is little frost[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Usually prefers a sunny position, but in very hot areas grows better with some shade[
]. It grows easily in light, well drained and well composted soil[
A fairly fast-growing plant, able to increase height by 80cm a year and flowering in its first year from seed[
Plants respond well to trimming - they are best cut back hard after flowering in order to keep the plant neat and floriferous[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if seed is required[
The leaves and young stems of ginger bush are a commonly used traditional medicine throughout the plant's range[
]. They are valued as an antiseptic, and are used as a treatment for coughs; respiratory problems; stomach ache; diarrhoea; dropsy; angina pectoris; fever; malaria and dengue fever; yaws; headache; and toothache[
An infusion of the leaves and roots is used as an emetic[
Inhaling the scent of the crushed leaves apparently relieves headaches[
The plant contains a number of medicinally active compounds including diterpenes; an essential oil (1.9%) of which the main components are: Î±-terpineol (22.6%), fenchone (13.6%), Î²-fenchyl alcohol (10.7%), Î²-caryophyllene (7.9%) and perillyl alcohol (6.0%); and phytosterols[
Moderate antimalarial activity of the leaf essential oil against two strains of Plasmodium falciparum has been reported[
A diterpene has been shown to possess papaverine-like antispasmodic activity[
Leaf extracts (80% ethanol), tested for antimicrobial and antiviral activity, inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Microsporum canis, Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Bacillus subtilis[
Cuttings are easy to root - even large branches can be used[
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