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Useful Tropical Plants

Plectranthus barbatus

Andrews

Lamiaceae


Some species of Plectranthus are difficult to identify because of a lack of clear-cut morphological criteria to discriminate not only among species within the genus but also among the closely related genera. This has resulted in numerous taxonomic problems in the naming of species with the result that species have often been placed in several closely related genera like Coleus, Solenostemon and Englerastrum. In addition, some species formally placed in Plectranthus, are now recognized as the more distantly related genus Isodon.
Because of these taxonomic issues, different names have often been used for the same species of Plectranthus and thus it has been difficult to collate information about the ethnobotanical uses of this genus. Furthermore, the most commonly used medicinal species of Plectranthus have a high degree of synonymy[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
This report is very much indebted to the work of C.W. Lukhoba et al. - Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1–24[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
] in untangling much of this mess of names, and utilizes the on-line Kew database ‘World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (http://wcsp.science.kew.org/home.do) for determining currently accepted names and synonyms (as of 2018).

+ Synonyms

Coleus adolfi-friderici Perkins

Coleus barbatus (Andrews) Benth. ex G.Don

Coleus coerulescens Gürke

Coleus forskalaei adoensis Briq.

Coleus grandis L.H.Cramer

Coleus kilimandschari Gürke

Coleus penzigii Dammann ex Baker

Coleus speciosus Baker f.

Coleus vestitus Baker

Ocimum asperum Roth

Orthosiphon asperus (Roth) Benth. ex Sweet

Plectranthus asper (Roth) Spreng.

Plectranthus coerulescens (Gürke) R.H.Willemse

Plectranthus comosus Sims

Plectranthus grandis (L.H.Cramer) R.H.Willemse

Plectranthus kilimandschari (Gürke) H.I.Maass

Plectranthus pseudobarbatus J.K.Morton

Common Name:

Plectranthus barbatus
Close-up of the leaves
Photograph by: CostaPPPR
Creative Commons License
Plectranthus barbatus Plectranthus barbatus Plectranthus barbatus Plectranthus barbatus

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General Information

Plectranthus barbatus is a semi-succulent, evergreen perennial plant with stems that become more or less woody, it grows from a thick, tuberous rootstock. The branching stems are generally decumbent, rooting at the lower nodes where they touch the ground; the plant forms a clump of growth up to 75cm tall[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
The plant has a very wide range of medicinal applications and is commonly harvested from the wild. It is cultivated for medicinal use in several countries including China, India and Brazil, is grown as a hedge and soil stabilizer in Africa and India, and is also sometimes grown as an ornamental[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].

Known Hazards

The plant is known to have embryo- and fetotoxic activities on rodents[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
]. It can sometimes cause perianal dermatitis[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].

Botanical References

266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

Eastern Africa - Eritrea to Tanzania, through the Arabian Peninsula to India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, southern China and Thailand

Habitat

Open, semi-arid areas, on waste places and often on shallow, moist soil among rocks on slopes; at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height0.60 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Grows best in a sunny position[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
All parts of the plant are aromatic[
1355
Title
Plants of the World online
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://powo.science.kew.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line database giving detailed descriptions of almost 40,000 species of plants (as of 2018), almost 25,000 images and a list of almost 850,000 plant names. A truly excellent resource and still growing.
].
This species has been considered to be the progenitor of Plectranthus esculentus N.E. Br.[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Edible Uses

The tuberous roots are eaten as a condiment in India, where they are often prepared as a pickle[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Leaves - cooked and eaten as a vegetable[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].

The powdered nutlets (seed capsules) are added as a flavouring to pickles and roasted foods[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

Medicinal

In traditional medicine in Brazil, Plectranthus barbatus is commonly used as an analgesic, a remedy for malaria, and to cure liver and stomach diseases[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. In India it is considered to have anti-allergenic activity[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The diterpene forskolin, obtained from the root tubers, is used in the preparation of drugs against cardiomyopathy, glaucoma, asthma and certain cancers[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
The plant contains an essential oil that exhibits anti-allergic activities through passive cutaneous anaphylaxis
inhibition[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Studies have shown that extracts of the plant reverse allergic bronchospasm[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].

The plant, especially the leaves, is used to treat a wide variety of digestive complaints, including stomach aches, nausea, gastritis and intestinal spasms[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
,
1347
Title
Plectranthus: A plant for the future?
Publication
South African Journal of Botany 77 (2011) 947-959
Author
Rice L.J.; Brits G.J.; Potgieter C.J.; Van Staden J.
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
A review of the Plectranthus species with potential as economic plants
]. It is also used to relieve a range of respiratory complaints including colds, coughs, bronchitis and pneumonia[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
]. It is used to treat heart, blood and circulation conditions, such as myalgia, angina, haemorrage and hypertension[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
]. It is also used to treat psychiatric problems, insomnia and convulsions[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
]. It is used to treat a range of infections including throat and mouth infections, tonsillitis, gastro-intestinal infections, genitourinary infections, as well as ear and eye infections. It is used to treat malaria in Brazil and to break fevers in East Africa and India.
The plant is a recognized source of useful antiglaucoma agents[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
The leaves are used to treat conjunctivitis and earache[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
The whole plant is said to have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity, and antiprotozoic activity against protozoa, such as Giardia[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
The plant is used in the treatment of syphilis. It is used as an emmenagogue and oral abortifacient or contraceptive, and as an aphrodisiac. The contraceptive property of this species is corroborated by the fact that the leaves were found to have an anti-implantation effect in rats[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
It is applied externally in the treatment of burns, wounds, sores, insect bites, ringworm and skin allergies[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
]. It reduces swelling on bruises and is used to bathe babies suffering from measles[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
It is used for treating rheumatism, stiff neck, backache and dislocated bones[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
]. The leaves, when burned a little and placed on the skin of the neck, are said to relieve stiffness[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
The plant is used in the treatment of teeth and gum disorders[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
The plant has cytotoxic and anti-tumour promoting activity and can be used in the treatment of cancer[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
The plant is used to treat snakebites[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
The plant is reported to stimulate the immune system[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
The plant is antiinflammatory and purgative[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is used as a small hedge and is planted on hillsides to act as a soil stabilizer in eastern Africa, India and Sri Lanka[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
The plant, when composted, makes a good manure[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
When growing well in the wild, the plant is said to be a good indicator of fertile soils[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
The flowers are attractive to bees[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].

Other Uses

The soft velvety leaves have a camphorous aroma and are used as a body rub to cleanse and deodorize the skin[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

An extract of the roots is used as a skin conditioner in commercial cosmetic preparations[
1243
Title
CosIng
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/cosing/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
CosIng is the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients.
].

Both the leaves and the stems are used to hasten the ripening of bananas[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].

The whole plant contains a forskolin-like compound that is used in hair dyeing[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
]

Propagation

Seed - sow in well-drained soil, covering lightly with a thin layer of sand, and place in a warm but shaded spot. The seed germinates in about three weeks[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Cuttings - soft tips root faster than semi-hardwood growth but both root easily. Cuttings are best taken 60 - 100mm long with three or four nodes, making the cut just below a node. Place them in sand, perlite, vermiculite or peat, or any mixture of these, keep them moist and shaded and they should root in 2 - 3 weeks[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]
Division.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2024-04-14. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Plectranthus%20barbatus&fbclid=IwAR14jcKWktCWVlNZ_B-kWvGcAkElteIrKSAhQk_utCmWqDYbtWRtsgzMNnc>

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