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 names forskohlii[2] and Indian coleus, 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 muscles. 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.[3]

Home remedy[edit]

It is widely used as a home remedy in South America among both urban and rural developments, sometimes confused with the native plant with similar properties but different uses, boldo. Much of this success is because the boldo's planting is very simple: a single clean part of it's "trunk" sticked on dirt can produce a full grown bush in weeks.

The Brazilian name is boldo brasileiro (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈbowdu bɾɐziˈlejɾu], as opposed to the Chilean true boldo), boldo-da-terra ([ˈbowdu dɐ ˈtɛʁɐ]), boldo-de-jardim ([ˈbowdu dʒi ʒaʁˈdʒĩ]) or tapete-de-Oxalá ([tɐˈpetʃi dʒ oʃaˈla]) (Oxalá's carpet, because it's velvety texture), and it is used to alleviate digestive problems, particularly liver-related ones, such as headaches caused by hangovers and other consumption of alcohol, as well as excessive fat content in food.[citation needed]


Chemical structure of forskolin

Herbal teas made from Plectranthus barbatus contains rosmarinic acid and also flavonoid glucuronides and diterpenoids.[4][5] The chemical constituents of Plectranthus barbatus showed activities in vitro, such as antioxidant activity and acetylcholinesterase inhibition.[4][5]

Forskolin, which derives its name from the former binomial name Coleus forskohlii, is a constituent of Plectranthus barbatus.[6]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". 
  2. ^ "Plectranthus barbatus". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 7 October 2015. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ a b Porfírio S, Falé PL, Madeira PJ, Florêncio MH, Ascensão L, Serralheiro ML (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. 
  6. ^ Pizzorno, Joseph E.; Murray, Michael T. (2012). Textbook of Natural Medicine (4th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. p. 686. ISBN 9781437723335. 

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