|Hyptis suaveolens (Vilayti Tulsi) in Hyderabad|
(L.) Poit. 1806
Hyptis suaveolens, pignut or chan, is a branching pseudocereal plant native to tropical regions of Mexico, Central, the West Indies, and South America, as well as being naturalized in tropical parts of Africa, Asia and Australia. It is generally 1–1.5 m (3.3–4.9 ft) tall, occasionally up to 3 m (9.8 ft). Stems are hairy, and square in cross section. Leaves are oppositely arranged, 2–10 cm (0.79–3.94 in) long, with shallowly toothed margins, and emit a strong minty odor if crushed. Flowers are pink or purple, arranged in clusters of 1-5 in the upper leaf axils.
H. suaveolens can be made into a refreshing drink by soaking the seeds in water and refrigerating the mix. Some people add lemon or other citrus to improve the taste. In Colima, Mexico, people use the H. suaveolens seeds to prepare a traditional beverage called "Bate." The process consists in roasting and grinding the seeds and then mixing the resulting powder with water. H. suaveolens is also a traditional treatment for diarrhea.
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- Ann. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. vii. (1806) 472. t. 29. f. 2. (IK)
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