Plectranthus barbatus

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Indian Coleus
Plectranthus barbatus.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Plectranthus
Species: P. barbatus
Binomial name
Plectranthus barbatus

Plectranthus barbatus (also known by the synonym Coleus forskohlii and vernacular name Indian Coleus (Kikuyu: Maigoya)), is a tropical perennial plant related to the typical coleus species. It is interesting from a scientific and medicinal standpoint because it produces forskolin. In Marathi the plant roots are known as MainMula (माइनमुळा) and especially used for pickles. The pickle is supposed to help strengthen the heart muscules. In Kenya it is also referred to as Kikuyu toilet paper, as in rural areas its leaves are used as such.


In Ayurvedic medicine Coleus species have been used to treat heart disease, convulsions, spasmodic pain and painful urination.[2] It is widely used as a domestic mild medicine in South America among both urban and rural developments, sometimes confused with the native plant with similar properties but different uses, boldo.


Herbal teas made from Plectranthus barbatus contains rosmarinic acid and also flavonoid glucuronides and diterpenoids.[3][4] The chemical constituents of Plectranthus barbatus showed interesting activities in vitro, such as antioxidant activity and acetylcholinesterase inhibition.[3][4]

Forskolin is one of the most extensively studied constituents of P. barbatus.

Chemical constituents[5][edit]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". 
  2. ^ Dubey MP, Srimal RC, Nityanand S et al. (1981). "Pharmacological studies on coleonol, a hypotensive diterpene from Coleus forskohlii". J Ethnopharmacol 3: 1–13. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(81)90010-6. 
  3. ^ a b Falé, P.L., Borges, C., Madeira, P.J.A., Ascensão, L., et al. (2009). "Rosmarinic acid, scutellarein 4′-methyl ether 7-O-glucuronide and (16S)-coleon E are the main compounds responsible for the antiacetylcholinesterase and antioxidant activity in herbal tea of Plectranthus barbatus ("falso boldo")". Food Chem. 114: 798–805. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2008.10.015. 
  4. ^ a b Porfírio S, Falé PL, Madeira PJA, Florêncio MH, Ascensão L, Serralheiro MLM (2010). "Antiacetylcholinesterase and antioxidant activities of Plectranthus barbatus tea, after in vitro gastrointestinal metabolism". Food Chem. 122: 179–187. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2010.02.044. 
  5. ^ Murray, edited by Joseph E. Pizzorno, Jr., Michael T. (2012). Textbook of natural medicine (4th ed. ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. p. 686. ISBN 9781437723335. 

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