Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour.) Spreng. is a perennial herb belonging to the family Lamiaceae which occurs naturally throughout the tropics and warm regions of Africa, Asia and Australia. This herb has therapeutic and nutritional properties attributed to its natural phytochemical compounds which are highly valued in the pharmaceutical industry. Besides, it has horticultural properties due to its aromatic nature and essential oil producing capability. It is widely used in folk medicine to treat conditions like cold, asthma, constipation, headache, cough, fever and skin diseases. The leaves of the plant are often eaten raw or used as flavoring agents, or incorporated as ingredients in the preparation of traditional food. The literature survey revealed the occurrence 76 volatiles and 30 non-volatile compounds belonging to different classes of phytochemicals such as monoterpenoids, diterpenoids, triterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, phenolics, flavonoids, esters, alcohols and aldehydes. Studies have cited numerous pharmacological properties including antimicrobial, antiinflammatory, antitumor, wound healing, anti-epileptic, larvicidal, antioxidant and analgesic activities. Also, it has been found to be effective against respiratory, cardiovascular, oral, skin, digestive and urinary diseases. Yet, scientific validation of many other traditional uses would be appreciated, mainly to discover and authenticate novel bioactive compounds from this herb. This review article provides comprehensive information on the botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology and nutritional importance of P. amboinicus essential oil and its various solvent extracts. This article allows researchers to further explore the further potential of this multi-utility herb for various biomedical applications.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.