Ballota suaveolens L.
Bystropogon graveolens Blume
Bystropogon suaveolens (L.) L'Hér.
Gnoteris cordata Raf.
Gnoteris villosa Raf.
Hyptis congesta Leonard
Hyptis ebracteata R.Br.
Hyptis graveolens Schrank
Hyptis plumieri Poit.
Marrubium indicum Blanco
Mesosphaerum suaveolens (L.) Kuntze
Schaueria graveolens (Blume) Hassk.
Schaueria suaveolens (L.) Hassk.
Close-up of the flowers
Photograph by: J.M.Garg
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Hyptis suaveolens is a coarse erect annual or often a perennial with stems that become more or less woody and persist. Usually much branched, it is sometimes as much as 2.5 metres high but is generally much lower[
The plant has a range of food and medicinal uses, being often harvested from the wild for local use. The plant is occasionally cultivated in Mexico and India[
Originating in the American tropics, the plant has spread to tropical and subtropical areas worldwide.
Wet to dry thickets and fields, often in hedges or waste ground, at elevations of 1,600 metres or less[
]. A weed in Australia on heavily grazed open forest areas, also found in monsoon forest and vine thickets at elevations to 750 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
The plant is often an abundant weed, sometimes forming dense thickets of considerable extent that are much visited by birds when the seeds are ripe[
]. It commences flowering when about 8 - 12 weeks old, producing copious amounts of seed, which can be spread by water, animals, humans and farm machinery[
The flowers are very attractive to pollinating insects[
The plant can flower and produce seed all year round[
The seeds are employed in many parts of Central America like those of Salvia hispanica - as detailed below.
When the 'seeds' or nutlets of Salvia hispanica are soaked in water they swell somewhat after the manner of tapioca, developing a thick outer mucilaginous coat[
]. When the soaked seeds are stirred or mashed in water, they form a beverage of agreeable flavour and mucilaginous consistency that is much drunk either at the table or at refreshment stands[
]. It is sometimes offered on the table at hotels[
]. The drink can be flavoured with fruit juices[
]. The gelled seeds can also be prepared as a gruel or pudding[
The seeds are larger than those of other Hyptis species and may be obtained in large quantities in places where the plants abound, by shaking the branches over a container[
The young shoot tips are added to foods as a flavouring[
The aromatic leaves are used to prepare a mint-flavoured tea substitute[
A decoction of the roots is valued as an appetizer. This plant is also used for affections of the uterus. A decoction of the root is said to be emmenagogic, and a stimulant if employed in rheumatism[
The flowering plant is antifungal, carminative, febrifuge, stomachic[
]. It is used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions including flatulence and other stomach problems, fevers associated with colds[
]. The juice of leaves, mixed with lime juice, is drunk for stomach aches[
Applied externally, it is used as a wash or poultice on skin disorders such as dermatitis and eczema, boils, headaches etc[
]. A poultice of the pounded fresh material is applied as a poultice on snake bites[
]. The juice of leaves is applied daily between the toes as a treatment for athlete's foot[
]. The leaf paste is applied on sores and fungal skin infections[
A high concentration of omega-6 lipids in the seed suggests hyptis oil to be an ideal product for dry, flaky skin[
In trials, the essential oil has shown many promising properties including antibacterial and antifungal activity; plus a better antiinflammatory activity than diclofenac sodium, which is a standard marketed formulation[
The leaves contain around 0.025% essential oils[
]. The principle constituents are spathulenol, 1,8-cineole, and (E)-caryophyllene[
]. The oil is used medicinally and as an adulterant of patchouli oil (Pogostemon cablin)[
]. The essential oil has also demonstrated insecticidal activity[
The leaves are used as a bedbug repellent[
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