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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Indian Borage





The Indian Borage is an attractive addition to any garden. This
perennial herb with serrated, fuzzy-textured foliage is low-
maintenance and easy to grow. My potted one sits in partial shade,
does not need a great deal of water and keeps looking good for most
months of the year.

This plant goes by several names too. Botanically it's Plectranthus
amboinicus
and the long list of names includes--Broadleaf thyme,
Spanish thyme, Mexican mint, and Cuban oregano. The Indian borage
is believed to be native to Africa but has naturalised in the Old
and New World tropics. There are two varieties: one is green and the
one I have has variegated leaves. The Chinese name translates as
"giving fragrance to the hands". And rightly so, because even if
you brush against the leaf you get a whiff of its strong smell.


The leaves are said to be added to mutton and fish dishes. Personally,
I find the smell so strong that I prefer to treat it as an ornamental.
The medicinal properties are many. It is said to cure cough and is
used in the treatment of asthma. The leaves are also used in the
treatment of wounds, sores, swellings and burns.





The blooms are in this shade of lavender. Some photos that I've
seen online had pinkish and white blooms too. The plant grows to
a height of 12-18 inches. Propagation is through seeds or stem
cuttings.

When I got the plant some three years ago, the only thing I knew
about it was that it was edible. But finding out its many virtues
now, I can't wait to try out some of the recipes and remedies.



13 comments:

Mildred said...

I remember having some of this at our last home. I remember how soft the leaves were and the strong smell. It is interesting to learn from you what all the different uses for it are.

rocksea said...

thanks for introducing the indian borage. i dont remember seeing it before!

tina said...

I almost bought plectranthus at a plant sale this summer but had no idea what it was. Most pretty. It looks almost like a sage.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Thank you Kanak for educating me! I've never had this plant. Need to try it!

islandgal246 said...

Kanak I do find it too strong so I use very little when am cooking except for Italian food where I am more generous with it. I find the variegated you have very attractive.

Susie said...

Kanak I have always loved this plant! I really like the scent of it. I had one this year but it failed to do anything. Disappointing but I'll get over it.

Urban Green said...

Hi Kanak...
I love the indian borage. I'm going to hunt for it in Delhi. Thanks for posting...

Autumn Belle said...

Kanak, the flowers are quite pretty and I love the pale colours. Indian borage will be in my list of herbs to plant.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Mildred, I was stunned to learn about its many uses! Imagine having a plant whose potentials were not known (by me) till I posted about it!!


Rocksea, it isn't all that commonly found. At least not like mint!

Tina, thanks. I've read that the smell is closest to thyme.


Tatyana, thanks! I hope you'll like it!


Helen, true. That white edging makes it look special!

Susie, next time you get another one, I hope that one does not disappoint!

Urban Green....good luck! Loved reading your fish recipes.

Autumn Belle, so happy to read this. It'll surely flourish in your pretty garden!

Stephanie said...

Hello Kanak, yes I agree with you that this herb plant is attractive too. The obvious white border makes the plant neat-looking. Those little lavender flowers are cute too. Love your last shot with the dragonfly resting on the leaf. Good shot!

Prospero said...

Hi Kenak. This herb looks interesting for it's medicinal properties. I'll look into it.

perennialgardener said...

Beneficial and ornamental, great combination for a plant. Keep us updated on the recipes & such you try with it. :)

Kanak Hagjer said...

Thanks Steph...the last photo is of a damselfly. It's smaller than a dragonfly.

Prospero...it was mind-boggling to find out the details. can a herb do so much?!

Racquel...I'll surely do that. Thanks!