Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour.) Spreng.

Last updated: 23 May 2016

Scientific Name

Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour.) Spreng. 


Coleus amboinicus Lour., Coleus amboinicus var. violaceus Gürke, Coleus aromaticus Benth., Coleus carnosus Hassk., Coleus crassifolius Benth., Coleus subfrutectosus Summerh., Coleus suborbicularis Zoll. & Moritzi, Coleus suganda Blanco, Coleus vaalae (Forssk.) Deflers, Majana amboinica (Lour.) Kuntze, Majana carnosa (Hassk.) Kunzte, Majana suganda (Blanco) Kunzte, Ociumum vaalae Forssk. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Bebangun, magun-magun, mangun-mangun, membangun, nilam [2]
English Allspice, country borage, French thyme, Indian borage, Indian mint, Mexican mint, soup mint, Spanish thyme, wild thyme [2]
India Dodda pathre, dodda pathre soppu, kaattukulinja-varaipatchilai, kannikkurkka, karpoora valli, karpooravalli, karpurahalli, karpuravalli, karuvaeru, omavali, pan ajamo, panikkurkka, patharcur, pathurchur, patta ajavauin, sugand-havalakam, sugandhavalkam, vamu aaku [2]
Indonesia Adjeran, daun djinten, daun kutjing [2]
Philippines Limon, oregano, sildu, suganda [2]
Vietnam Hung chanh, rau tan la day [2].

Geographical Distributions

Plectranthus amboinicus can be found in tropical countries. In Peninsular Malaysia, it is usually cultivated in gardens but it also grows wild. [3]

Botanical Description

P. amboinicus is a member of the Laminaceae family. It is a decumbent succulent and pleasantly aromatic subshrub which can grow up to 50 cm tall. [4]

The roots are fibrous; stems square, succulent without tuberous base. [4]

The leaves are broadly ovate, succulent, measuring 1.5-5 cm x 1-4 cm dentate with 12-18 pairs of teeth. Both faces are green, pubescent with the lower surface having brown to colourless glandular dots. The tip is acute and the base truncate. [4]

The inflorescences measure 10-50 cm subspicate, simple or with a pair of side bracts; dichasia subsessile, with 4-10-flowered. The bracts are ovate to suborbicular, measuring 2-3 mm.  The peduncle measures 1.5-2.5 mm. [4]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

Leaves [5]

Traditional Use

The fresh, aromatic herb is an antipyretic, an antibacterial, an antiamoebic and an antitussive. [3]

Among its uses is for treating fever, adiaphoretic pyrexia, hyperthermia, coryza and influenza. The extract mixed with sugar is effective to relieve coughs especially in children. Its other uses are relieving laryngitis, hoarseness, bronchitis, asthma, haemoptysis, epistaxis, haematemesis, gastralgia, angina and convulsions. It is applied externally to treat headache and aphthae. It is also used to relieve pain. [3]

Meanwhile, in India, the leaves are used to treat urinary and vaginal disorders. In some countries, it is used as a carminative and is prescribed to treat colic and stomach dyspepsia. The decoction is also given during confinement. [3]

P. amboinicus is considered a carminative and is used to treat dyspepsia and colic. Juice of the leaves mixed with sugar is used for this purpose. [5] Fruits and seeds are used to treat vomiting. [6]

Poultice of the leaves is used to treat headache, toothache, burns, bite and to soothe scorpion bites. [4][7]

The Batak of Sumatera had been using the leaves of P. amboinicus to stimulate the production of milk. They considered the plant to be nourishing and enhancing the production of breast milk while at the same time acting as a uterine cleansing agent. [8]

Preclinical Data


Lactagogue activity

A study has been carried out on the effectiveness of P. amboinicus as a lactagogue. They found that women receiving supplementation with P. amboinicus had a 65% increase in milk volume during the last two weeks of supplementation as compared to Molocco+B12 (10%) and Fenugreek seeds (20%). The residual effect of P. amboinicus was found to have extended beyond the period of supplementation. [9]

Antimalarial activity

Antimalarial activity study of the aqueous extract of leaves of P. amboinicus on infected albino mice was found that the extract in a dose of 250 mg/kg was able to reduce parasitaemia up to 68% after 96 hours and up to 76% in a dose of 500 mg/kg after the same duration.[10]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour.) Spreng. 2013 ver1.1 [updated 2013, cited 2016 May 23]. Available from
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC World dictionary of plant names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2000. p. 627-628.
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 238.
  4. Hanelt P, Buttner R. Mansfeld’s encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural Crops. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2001; p. 1949.
  5. Palaniswani MS, Peter KV. Tuber and root crops: Vol 9. Horticulture science series. New India: New Delhi Publishing Agency, 2008; p. 95-96.
  6. Dalimartha S. Atlas tumbuhan obat Indonesia Jilid 5. Jakarta: Pustaka Bunda, 2008; p. 25-28.
  7. Roecklein JC, Leung PS, editors. A profile of economic plants. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1987; p. 393.
  8. Damanik R. Torbangun (Coleus amboinicus Lour): A Bataknese traditional cuisine perceived as lactagogue by Bataknese lactating women in Simulungun, North Sumatera, Indonesia. J Hum Lact. 2009;25(1):64-72.
  9. Damanik R, Wahlgvist ML, Wattanapenpaiboon N. Lactagogue effects of Torbangun, a Bataknese traditional cuisine. Asia Pac JU Clin Nutr. 2006;15(2):267-274.
  10. Periyanayagam K, Nirmala Devi K, Suseela L, Uma A, Ismail M. In vivo antimalarial activity of leaves of Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour) Spreng on Plasmodium berghei yoelii. J Commun Dis. 2008;40(2):121-125.