Hyptis suaveolens (PROSEA)

From PlantUse English
Jump to: navigation, search
Logo PROSEA.png
Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poiteau

Protologue: Ann. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 7: 472, t. 29, f. 2 (1806).
Family: Labiatae


  • Ballota suaveolens L.,
  • Marrubium indicum Thunb., non Burm.f.,
  • Schaueria graveolens Hassk.

Vernacular names

  • Bush tea-bush (En)
  • Indonesia: lampesan (Javanese), jukut bau (Sundanese), mang-kamang (Madurese)
  • Malaysia: malbar hutan, selaseh hutan, pokok kemangi
  • Papua New Guinea: iliplua (New Britain), pedidi (Milne Bay)
  • Philippines: amotan (Bicol), suob-kabayo (Tagalog), loko-loko (Bisaya)
  • Thailand: kara, maeng lak kha (peninsular)
  • Vietnam: é thơm, tía tô dại


Native of tropical America but now distributed and naturalized pantropically, including South-East Asia. Occasionally cultivated in Mexico and India.


The shoot tips are used as a food flavouring and the roots as an appetizer. Sometimes the whole plant is used as forage for cattle.

In the Philippines the stem tips and leaves are used externally to treat wounds and skin diseases, in a bath to treat rheumatism and as sudorific, and internally as antispasmodic. The root has emmenagogue and stomachic properties, and is also used to treat rheumatism. The leaves are also used as insect repellent, e.g. against bedbugs. In Papua New Guinea leaves are applied externally to cuts and wounds, and internally to treat fever and catarrh. In Indonesia the plant is used as galactagogue. In China stems and leaves are used in traditional medicine to treat colds, rheumatism, eczema and bruises. In Africa and Central America H. suaveolens has similar medicinal applications. In Thailand pounded branches and leaves are used as lice repellent for chickens. The leaves are also used to repel bedbugs. The essential oil in the leaves (0.025%) has been used as an adulterant of patchouli oil.


  • Strongly aromatic, almost fetid herb, up to 2 m tall with 4-angled, much branched, hirsute stem.
  • Leaves decussate, firmly herbaceous; petiole 0.5-3 cm long; blade ovate to broadly obovate, 3-5 cm × 2-4 cm, gland-dotted, margin irregularly serrulate, densely pubescent beneath.
  • Inflorescence a verticillate, 2-5-flowered cyme, arranged racemosely towards the end of branches in the axil of smaller leaves; peduncle up to 1 cm long.
  • Calyx campanulate, 5 mm long, in fruit up to 10 mm, strongly 5-ribbed, with 5 setaceous teeth; corolla tubular, 6-8 mm long, blue to violet, limb bilabiate, upper lip 2-lobed, lower lip 3-lobed; stamens 4, included in corolla; stigma shortly bifid.
  • Fruit usually consisting of 2 nutlets; nutlet narrowly oblongoid, up to 4 mm × 3 mm, faintly rugose, brown.

H. suaveolens occurs in dry open localities, along streams and roadsides, as a weed in plantations and fields, from sea-level up to 1300 m altitude, in seasonal and per-humid conditions. Flowering and fruiting is year-round. In the dry season it sheds its leaves. The pericarp of the nutlet swells to a gelatinous mass when soaked in water.

Selected sources

7, 10, 12, 26, 40, 56, 60. spices

  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink Jr, R.C., 1963-1968. Flora of Java. 3 volumes. Wolters‑Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. Vol. 1 (1963), 647 pp., Vol. 2 (1965), 641 pp., Vol. 3 (1968), 761 pp.
  • Brown, W.H., 1941-1943. Useful plants of the Philippines. 3 volumes. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Technical Bulletin 10. Bureau of Printing, Manila, the Philippines. 1610 pp. (reprint, 1951-1957).
  • Burkill, I.H., 1935. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. 2 volumes. Crown Agents for the Colonies, London, United Kingdom. 2402 pp. (slightly revised reprint, 1966. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2444 pp.).
  • Flora Malesiana (various editors), 1950- . Series 1. Vol. 1, 4- . Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
  • Heyne, K., 1927. De nuttige planten van Nederlandsch Indië [The useful plants of the Dutch East Indies]. 2nd edition, 3 volumes. Departement van Landbouw, Nijverheid en Handel in Nederlandsch Indië. 1953 pp. (3rd edition, 1950. van Hoeve, 's‑Gravenhage/Bandung, the Netherlands/Indonesia. 1660 pp.).
  • Li, Hui‑Lin et al. (Editors), 1975-1979. Flora of Taiwan. 6 volumes. Epoch Publishing Company, Taipei, Taiwan. Second edition (1993- .) edited and published by the Editorial Committee of the Flora of Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan (editor-in-chief: Huang Tseng-Chieng).
  • Mansfeld, R., 1986. Verzeichnis landwirtschaftlicher und gärtnerischer Kulturpflanzen (ohne Zierpflanzen) [Register of agricultural and horticultural plants in cultivation (without ornamentals)]. Schultze‑Motel, J. et al., editors 2nd edition, 4 volumes. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Germany. 1998 pp.

120, 121, 173, 196, 247, 334, 347, 646, 718, 760, 761, 811, 1030. medicinals

Main genus page


  • P.C.M. Jansen
  • Rini Sasanti Handayani