Widely found in Kerala by the name Panikoorka or Navara, this medicinal herb belongs to the family Lamiaceae. As an effective home remedy for the common cold in children, it is commonly grown in households in Kerala.
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Panikoorka or Indian Rock-Foil is a perennial plant growing up to a height of 90 cm.
Its circular or heart-shaped leaves can be 3 to 6 cm long. They are thick and contain water, making them juicy. The purple flowers originate from branch tips, forming an inflorescence. The stem and leaves have hairs on the surface.
It grows very well in tropical climatic conditions. It is easy to cultivate in moist soil, either directly or in a pot. In areas with adequate water and light, it does not require much care to thrive.
Traditionally, Panikoorka has been a popular home remedy for fever, cough, and common cold [ref1]. Slightly boil the leaves and squeeze out the juice. Mix it with honey. Have one spoon of the mix thrice daily for two to three days to get relief from common cold or cough. It can also help to improve digestion.
Disclaimer: This is only general information, which should not be considered medical advice.
Apart from medicinal uses, its aromatic leaves are used as a flavor in various dishes. In addition to the health benefits, it can provide a good aroma and taste to the food items. For example, adding a few leaves of Panikoorka leaves, turmeric (Manjal), and curry leaves (Kariveppila) while preparing Kerala-style Moru Curry can make it even more delicious.
It is also great for making herbal teas, soups, and chutneys.
Since it looks attractive and can also act as a good insect repellant, it is a good herb to grow as an ornamental plant too.
Sanskrit: Ajagandhapatra, Pashanabhedi, Karpooravalli
Malayalam: Panikoorka, Navara
English: Indian Rock-foil, Cuban Oregano, Indian Borage
Botanical name(s): Coleus aromaticus, Coleus amboinicus, Plectranthus amboinicus