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.
Glory be to God for dappled things- For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Gerard Manley Hopkins
The first flowering shrub I planted on our land
Every flower is a soul blooming in Nature.-Gerard De Nerval
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? -Henry David Thoreau