Plectranthus amboinicus benefits and side effects

Plectranthus amboinicus benefits

Know in one minute about Plectranthus amboinicus

  • Plectranthus amboinicus is an edible herb with medicinal value.
  • It is famous for its distinctive oregano-like flavor and unique odor.
  • Rich source of vitamin and  omega-6 fatty acids.
  • It also contains essential oils, flavonoids, terpenes, and cinnamic derivates.
  • Treat bad breath, diarrhea, pain, and inflammation.


Plectranthus amboinicus or C. aromaticus is a semi-succulent perennials or annuals plant belonging to the mint family LamiaceaeIt is a large, fleshy herb and popular for its distinctive oregano-like flavor and odor. This plant can be useful as food, fodder, and a garden plant. The leaf’s decoction is used for several culinary and medicinal purposes (1). Plectranthus amboinicus benefits are preventing inflammation and pain and also having diuretic properties.

Common name

It is commonly known as Cuban oregano, Country borage, Spanish thyme, Indian Borage, Mexican mint, Indian mint, French thyme,  Soup mint, and Caribbean oregano

Geographical distribution 

This plant is available throughout tropical Africa, Asia, Australia, and America, including Brazil (2).

Components of Plectranthus amboinicus 

The leaves of this plant are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as omega-6 fatty acids. It also contains essential oils, flavonoids, terpenes, and cinnamic derivates (3). 

Plectranthus amboinicus benefits and uses

Plectranthus amboinicus is commonly used in folk medicine to treat cold, cough, fever, headache, asthma, constipation, sore throats, mumps, and mosquito bite. Let’s look closer at its use

1. Increase the taste of the dish

The leaves of this plant are frequently eaten raw or used for flavoring a variety of dishes. The dry leaves can be stored in an airtight container and used to make tea.  Chopped leaves are also used to add flavor to meat, fish, and bean as a substitute for sage (Salvia officinalis) to cover bad odor (4).

2. Increase the storage life of chicken meat

It contains phenolic compounds that break the bacterial cell wall and cause leakage of cell constituents. Thus this herb degrades the bacterial cell wall, thereby decreasing the population of bacteria and increasing food life (5).

3. Relive pain and inflammation

This plant contains plentiful carvacrol and thymoquinone that reduce swelling and pain (6). Thus, it treats many inflammatory diseases, such as metabolic disease, atherosclerosis, obesity, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer (7).

4. Prevent Malaria

The leaves contain a flavonoid that is safe for human consumption. A research study suggested that its leaves and oil kill mosquito larva and prevent malaria from occurring (8).

5. Treat bad breath

Leaves of this plant are rich in flavonoids that treat bad breath by killing Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus mutans bacteria (9). Thus mouthwash and oil of this plant leaves treat unpleasant oral odor (halitosis) (10).

6. Treat diarrhea

Indian borage leaves stimulate the growth of good bacteria and inhibit the growth of foodborne pathogens in the gut. Thus, a polyphenol from the leaves of this plant alleviates diarrhea by accelerating microbial gut balance during infection (11).

7. Prevent bone erosion

Intake of the leaves prevents bone erosion by reducing inflammation and pain (12).

8. Diuretic properties

The leaves contain bioactive compounds that stimulate the excretion of overload water in the body. Thus, intake of these plant leaves treats most disorders such as cardiac failure, cirrhosis, and nephritic syndrome (13).

9. Other uses

This plant is commonly used in home decorations as hanging baskets. Leaves are useful in getting rid of body odor and in the laundry. The oil from leaves is useful in skin creams and cosmetics (14)

The side effect of Plectranthus amboinicus

A small amount is safe for use in food products. However, intake of leaf juice may cause a burning sensation in the tongue and esophagus in some people (15).