There is a saying in Southern India – “One should grow Indian Borage at home, if they have children.” Scientifically known as ‘Plectranthus Amboinicus’, Indian Borage (or Mexican mint) is famous for its therapeutic benefits. Commonly called ‘Pani koorkka’ in Malayalam, ‘Karpuravalli’ in Tamil, and ‘Pathar choor’ in Hindi, this plant has been traditionally used as a remedy for common ailments like cold, flu, fever and respiratory-related issues.
This plant can be easily grown at home, courtyards and can also be kept in pots. Propagation is via stem cuttings as well as seeds. This plant grows well in semi-shaded, dry environments and when well-drained. In Ayurveda, there are many references regarding the usage of Indian Borage as medicine. It is very easy to make various home remedies from this plant.
Leaves of Indian Borage are used to make medicines. These leaves are put on a hot tava which makes them transparent. After that, take them out and squeeze with your fingers to produce juice. Leaves can also be squeezed directly to take out the juice.
For relieving fever
1 tablespoon of pure juice for children, 2 tablespoons for adults.
As an expectorant
Boil the leaves for 5 minutes in 1 cup of water. Cooldown this concentrate. 2 tablespoons for children and quarter cup for adults to squeeze out sputum from the respiratory tract, to cure cough, bronchitis, and nasal as well as chest congestion. This will be highly effective if taken daily, for people with asthma and allergic wheezing.
For upper respiratory infection
Mix the juice of leaves with organic rock sugar (called ‘kalkkandam’ in Malayalam and ‘mishri’ in Hindi), and give it to children and toddlers who have throat infection, cold and cough.
As a preventive measure
2 or 3 drops of pure juice of the leaves can be daily applied on the head (in children as well as adults) to get prevention from cough, cold, and common ailments.
For infants and toddlers
Mix the juice of leaves with little honey and apply on the mother’s breast so that infants can take it while sucking milk. Little juice can also be applied directly to the infant’s lips. This will give relief from common ailments like cold, cough, upper respiratory ailments and common fever.
As an antidote
Juice of the leaves can be applied directly for insect bites and similar things.
For curing infections and allergies
Juice of the leaves can be directly applied to wounds, infections, to get cured. The juice can also give relief from allergic skin reactions like itching.
As a lactating agent
The plant can improve lactation in breastfeeding mothers. Through this, the plant’s medicinal properties will be transferred to the baby from the mother.
Other than this, Indian Borage has also been used as a flavouring agent in cooking. Though useful to adults, this plant is particularly popular for the medicinal benefits it provides to children. Basically, we can call this wonder herb an in-house child specialist.