INDIAN BORAGE (Plectranthus amboinicus)


Scientific Name: Plectranthus amboinicus
Common names: Bangun-bangun (Mal), Mexican mint, Indian borage, Spanish thyme, French thyme, soup mint, Indian mint, country borage

Sunshine Full sun to light shade
Water Well drained
Optimal soil texture Rich
Acceptable soil pH Neutral

When lightly brushed, only the Indian Borage plant will impart a pungent smell. The Chinese name of this plant is known as (dao shou xiang), which means of “giving fragrance to the hands”.

* Coughs and sore throats The leaves are commonly used in India and Southeast Asia to treat coughs. It is known to be an effective expectorant. The simplest method is to chew a leaf. You can also make a tea by boiling the leaves in water (in the Caribbean, they add honey to the tea). Or you can pound the leaves and mix with a little water.
* Blocked nose Rub the leaves, and inhale the vapour.
* Burns, Sores, Insect Bites and Stings, and skin conditions such as eczema Pound the leaves to a pulp, and then apply as a poultice.
* Dandruff. Wash hair with an infusion of the leaves (incidentally, the infusion can also be used to rinse your clothes).

The tea made from the leaves of the Indian borage is also used in many parts of the world, from the Caribbean to India, for treating:

* Bronchitis
* Asthma
* Colds, flus, other viral conditions
* Indigestion, flatulence, stomach cramps
* Insomnia
* Pain (Headaches, menstrual pain, rheumatoid pain)

In some parts of Indonesia, the herb is used in a soup given to new mothers to help increase milk flow.


The strong flavour and aroma of the Indian borage leaves make them ideal for flavouring certain meats and fish, helping to mask their strong smell. The leaves may be used as a potherb, or to make stuffing and marinade. Of course, the herb has to used to be use sparingly so as not to overpower the flavour of the meat/fish.

It’s used in many places around the world to add a punch to their dishes:

* Flavouring for meat and fish dishes, as mentioned earlier (Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean)
* Seasoning for fish and mutton curries (Southeast Asia)
* Condiment for sour soup (Vietnam)
* Eaten raw with bread and butter, fried in batter, flavouring for beer and wine (India)
* Salads (the Caribbean)
* Principal flavouring used in the Cuban black bean soup, Frijoles Negros.

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