Leucas zeylanica R Br

[From Greek, leukos = white and from Latin, zeylanica = from Ceylon]

Common names: Malayan catnip; Ceylon leucas, ketumbak (Malay); herbe tombée (French); pache -pache (Javanese); fingwocao (Chinese). geta thumba (Sri Lankan).

Uses: In Malaysia, a decoction of Leucas zeylanica R. Br. is drunk to treat cold, expel intestinal worms, alleviate cough and to promote digestion. A poultice is used to soothe inflamed parts, to assuage headache and to expel intestinal worms. The juice expressed from the plant is used to heal syphilitic ulceration of the nose, and to treat skin diseases and leucorrhea. In China, the plant is used to treat cough. It would be interesting to discover whether a more intensive study on this plant discloses any molecules of therapeutic interest.

Physical description: It is a herb which grows to a height of 30 cm in neglected lands and roadsides in a geographical zone spanning India, the Asia-Pacific and China. The stems are quadrangular, succulent and sub-glabrous. Leaves: simple, packed at the apex of the stems, 3cm-7.5cm x 5mm-1.5cm, without stipules and decussate. The petiole is indistinct. The blade is lanceolate, sub-glabrous and shows about 4-6 pairs of secondary nerves which are sunken above and raised below. The margin is laxly lobed and recurved. The inflorescences are of dense, few-flowered terminal heads. The flowers are pure white in color and hairy at the base. The corolla is bilobed with the lower lobe much larger and indistinctly bifid. The calyx is tubular, subglabrous and shows 8 tiny lobes.The corolla is hairy, pure white, bilobed, with the lower lobe much longer and broader. The andrecium consists of 2 pairs of stamens. The fruits consist of 4 tiny nutlets packed in the accrescent calyx (Fig. 308).

Fig. 308. Leucas zeylanica R.Br.

530 Division MAGNOLIOPHYTA Ocimum basilicum L.

[From Greek, Ocimum = to smell and basilikos =

royal remedy]

Common names: Sweet basil; selaseh, ruku-ruku (Malay); balanoi (Filipino); hung que (Vietnam); pesto (Italian); pistou, basilic (French); tirunitru-pachchai (Tamil); arjaka (Sanskrit).

Physical description: It is a little shrub native to Africa and Asia. The plant is cultivated for its aroma. The stems are purplish or green, squarish, succulent and glabrous; but hairy and woody at the base. Leaves: simple, decussate, without stipules and 2.5 cm-9 cm x 1.25 cm-5 cm. The petiole is 1.5 cm-2 cm long and hairy. The blade is lanceolate, succulent, light green or purplish, glossy and shows 4-6 pairs of secondary nerves. The margin is serrate or entire. The flowers are arranged in 7cm-20cm long cylindrical racemes. The calyx is hairy, purplish or green, 4 mm long, bilobed, with an broad and round upper lobe, and a lower lobe with 4 tiny teeth. The corolla is white or purplish, bilobed with the lower lobe projecting forward and relatively flat, whilst the upper lobe has 4 blunt teeth. The andrecium consists of 4 stamens in 2 pairs. The style is pinkish. The fruits consist of 4 nutlets which are included in the accrescent calyx (Fig. 309).

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