The Indian coleus (Coleus barbatus (Andrews) Benth. Ex G. Don;) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Lamiaceae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
C. barbatus species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Plectranthus barbatus Andrews;
– Plectranthus forskaolaei Vahl;
– Plectranthus forskohlii Willd .;
– Coleus forskalaei auct., Not Briq ..
– Coleus forskohlii (Willd.) Briq ..
Coleus from the Greek κολεός coléos sheath, sheath: reference to the filaments that appear gathered in small bundles sheathing the stylus
The specific epithet barbatus comes from bearded, beard beard: due to the presence of organs provided with localized hair similar to beards.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Coleus barbatus is a perennial plant native to India and East Africa.
Its habitat is that of the mountainous areas exposed to the sun in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, at an altitude from 300 to 2000 m.
Coleus barbatus is a perennial herbaceous plant that can reach 90 centimeters in height that branches off from fleshy and aromatic roots.
The leaves are light green, ovate and with serrated edges.
The flowers can be blue-purplish or they can take on a shade between blue and indigo.
Coleus barbatus is a plant that grows in humid subtropical and tropical climates and which must be cultivated, therefore in areas not subject to freezing, except if grown in pots and in a protected environment.
Propagation occurs by seed, from January to June in pots or in seedbeds, covering slightly with vermiculite, at 20-22 ° C.
Germination will take place in 2-4 weeks.
It is possible to propagate by tufts containing a portion of roots.
Customs and Traditions –
Coleus barbatus is a plant that is called in various ways according to the air where it is grown or used.
The Brazilian name is boldo brasileiro or boldo gaúcho.
This plant was first described as Plectranthus barbatus by Henry Cranke Andrews in 1810. It was later transferred to the genus Coleus by Bentham in 1830.
Although Coleus had previously been included in Plectranthus, the original pairing was revived in a major study of the Plectranthinae sub-tribe in 2019.
Over time there has been some confusion about the synonyms of this species. Plectranthus forskaolaei was first described by Vahl in 1790.
However, Vahl’s name is illegitimate, because he treats it as a synonym of the previously described Ocimum hadiense Forrsk. Vahl wrote the epithet as “Forskålaei”, referring to Pehr Forsskål, also spelled as “Forskål”.
Later, in 1800, Willdenow referred to the name of Vahl, but pronounced the epithet “forskolaei”. As of July 31, 2020, the International Plant Names Index uses the spelling “forskalei”. It was probably this species that Briquet was referring to when he transferred a species to Coleus as “C. forskohlii (Willd.) Briq.” , introducing another spelling of the epithet; however, Briquet did not explicitly refer to a basionym. Briquet considered “Coleus forskohlii” to be synonymous with what he called “C. barbatus Benth.”, Although Vahl had originally given a different synonym. Paton et al. (2019) state that the epithets “forskalaei” or “forskohlii” are applied incorrectly to this species, instead treating binomials with these epithets as synonyms of Coleus hadiensis, in accordance with Vahl’s original usage.
Beyond the taxonomic aspects, Coleus barbatus is a plant whose fleshy aromatic roots are used, which make up the drug, from which the active ingredients that make this plant species so interesting are obtained.
In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Coleus barbatus has been used to treat heart disease, spasmodic pain, painful urination and seizures. It has in fact been used by Hindus for thousands of years to treat cardiovascular, respiratory (asthma), ophthalmological and skin disorders.
Forskolin is extracted from the plant, a diterpene derivative also known by the name of coleonol.
Only in 1974 did Western research identify this active principle which it contains in its roots and is responsible for its medicinal virtues.
Forskolin, by activating the production of heat and lipolysis (dissolution of adipose tissue), reduces the amount of circulating fat in the blood and promotes weight loss.
Forskolin has the same effects as ephedrine, the amphetamine-like molecule used in the treatment of asthma, hypertension and obesity, with fewer side effects.
According to some studies, this substance also has the advantage of preserving muscle tissue, often affected by weight loss.
Furthermore, by increasing the production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland and its action on serotonin and dopamine, forskolin is said to be effective in improving the symptoms of depression.
It is also interesting for people suffering from hypothyroidism.
In addition, the action on the dilation of blood vessels gives forskolin its beneficial effect on hypertension. It was in fact one of the first uses of the plant in Ayurvedic medicine several centuries ago.
It is by the same process that forskolin is effective in glaucoma, a disease caused by excessive pressure in the eye that can lead to blindness.
A 2005 US study also showed that “oral intake of forskolin (250 mg 10% forskolin extract twice daily) for 12 weeks favorably changed body composition.
In addition, the herbal teas based on Coleus barbatus contain rosmarinic acid and also glucuronide and diterpenoid flavonoids.
Remember, however, that people with sensitive stomachs, prone to heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease, should be careful when consuming Coleus barbatus.
Also, due to its blood pressure properties, people with low blood pressure or hypotension should avoid taking Coleus barbatus.
Preparation Method –
The active ingredients of this plant are found on the market and generally dosed between 10 and 20% of forskolin. Food supplements extracted from Coleus barbatus are recommended in doses ranging from 10 to 60 mg two or three times a day, in a renewable one month cure.
Coleus barbatus is often combined with guarana or garcinia for greater effectiveness.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Photo source: http://legacy.tropicos.org/Image/100694624
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.