Mesona is a genus of herbs in the mint family (Lamiaceae) found in Asia, with about 8–10 species. The name derives from the Greek meso- ‘middle’, as the author found it possessing characteristics intermediate between basil and scullcap, other genera in the same family.
A widely consumed species in this genus is Mesona chinensis (synonyms M. elegans and M. procumbens), or xiancao (仙草) in Mandarin, sian-chháu in Taiwanese, leung fan cao (涼粉草) in Cantonese, and sương sáo in Vietnamese. It is eaten as a snack in drinks, or set as a gel and served as a grass jelly.
In Indonesia the Mesona palustris leaf is used to make a black jelly; there is also an instant powder variety available.
- Quattrocchi, Umberto (2012). World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants. CRC Press. p. 2489. ISBN 978-1-4200-8044-5. "See Bijdragen tot de flora van Nederlandsch Indië 838. 1826 and Taiwania 43(1):38–58. 1998."
- Flora of China
- Don, George (1838). General History of the Dichlamydeous Plantus. London. p. 675. "from μέσος, mesos, middle; so called because the genus was supposed by the author to be intermediate between Ocymum and Scutellaria."
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