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[
This report is very much indebted to the work of C.W. Lukhoba et al. - Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24[
] 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).
Coleus doba Hochst. ex Chiov.
Coleus glandulosus Hook.f.
Coleus praetermissus Bullock & Killick
Coleus serrulatus Robyns
Galeopsis maculosa Lam.
Germanea maculosa Lam.
Germanea punctata (L.f.) Poir.
Majana glandulosa (Hook.f.) Kuntze
Ocimum punctatum L.f.
Plectranthus lycopifolius A.Rich.
Plectranthus maculosus (Lam.) Salisb.
Plectranthus serrulatus (Robyns) Troupin & Ayob.
Plectranthus punctatus is an erect or ascending, perennial plant (occasionally annual) with one to several, stout, simple or branched stems 30 - 120cm long. The stems are often creeping at the base where they can root adventitiously; they arise from a rhizome or branching root system that sometimes bears tubers[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine
Tropical Africa - Cameroon, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Madagascar
The plant is used in the treatment of infections and fevers[
]. The plant is used traditionally as a pain killer, anthelmintic, and as a medicine after vomiting[
]. The plant is used to treat ear infections[
The root is used traditionally to treat stomach pain and heal wounds[
Extracts of the roots have shon effective antibacterial activity against both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria[
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[
Cuttings of Plectranthus species generally root easily - soft tips root faster than semi-hardwood growth. The 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[
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