Indian Borage

Indian borage

The leaves are boiled into a decoction to treat asthma, fever, colic, nausea, rheumatism, coughs, urinary tract infection, epilepsy, and convulsion. Upon checking an encyclopaedia of herbal medicine, I found that this herbal plant is used in Indian folk medicine as a digestive remedy.

It became mainstream when western medical circle discovered that it contains forskolin, a powerful medicine for various problems including heart failure, glaucoma and bronchial asthma. You can read more about it at Wikipedia.

Taste & smell

Indian Borage smells and taste wonderfully minty.

Other names

  • Common name: Indian Borage/ Mexican Mint
  • Scientific name: Plectranthus barbatus Andrews
  • Malay name: Bangun-bangun
  • Chinese name:
  • Tamil name: Karpuravalli

Where to buy

Unfortunately, I have not found this herb to be available for purchase. Instead, I plant my own. Look around your neighbourhood for this plant and most commonly found in the Indian community. I got mine from my local community garden.


Indian Borage is a low-maintainence plant that grows rather easily and quickly. It can grow up to 75 cm tall. The leaves are thick, somewhat furry, and about the size of 3 – 9 cm long and 2 – 5 cm wide. The fruit is blackish-brown.

It’s a perennial and semi-succulent herb. It’s quite drough-tolerant; that means even if you don’t water it as much it could survive.

How to use

  • Substitute for mint leaves – Though it’s not the same, it could be used as substitute for mint leaves. Once, I was running out of mint to make mint sauce and added some Indian Borage from my garden instead.
  • Make herbal tea with the leaves



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