Thumbai or Leucas aspera is an annual, herb belonging to the family Lamiaceae. It is commonly called Thumba, Thumbai, and Common Leucas. It bears white flowers.
The species is found growing in moist places such as stream banks, riversides, swamps, wetlands, ditches, ponds, marshes, etc., in temperate regions. In India, it is distributed throughout the plains, hills, and mountains up to an elevation of about 3000m.
This plant has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat various ailments such as fever, cough, sore throat, and colds. The leaves of the plant contain saponins, which are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.
This plant contains saponin compounds, which are known to have anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds also act as antioxidants, helping to prevent damage from free radicals.
The whole plant of L. Aspera contains triterpenoid saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, steroids, reducing sugars, glucopyranosyl derivatives, diterpene glycosides, isopimarane glycosides, leucoanthocyanidin, leucasperoside A and B, while aerial parts of the plant are reported to contain nicotine, sterols, and two new alkaloids.
This plant is used as food in some countries. In addition, it is used as a medicinal herb. It is known to cure coughs, colds, fever, headache, stomach ache, diarrhea, dysentery, indigestion, flatulence, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, toothache, earache, eye problems, skin diseases, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, ringworm, warts, boils, and ulcers.
Leucas aspera has been used traditionally in the treatment of snakebites in the Philippine Islands. The plant contains leucin, which is known to produce febrifuge properties. In addition, it has been shown that extracts of L. aspera have antibacterial activity against Bacillus subtilus.
Medicinal uses of Leucas aspera
- The medicinal use of Leucas aspera includes treating coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, sinus infections, and sore throats.
- This herb also helps treat digestive disorders such as diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, and stomach ulcers.
- In traditional Chinese medicine, this herb is used to treat coughs, colds, and other respiratory conditions.
- It is also used to treat stomachaches, heartburn, and other gastrointestinal issues.
- It also helps to reduce inflammation and pain caused by arthritis and rheumatism.
- The plant is used to treat acute and chronic wounds. It can be applied directly on the wound or mixed with honey and then applied topically.
- The plant is also used to treat burns, cuts, bruises, insect bites, and stings.
- The plant is useful in treating fungal infections such as athlete's foot, jock itch, and ringworm.
How to grow Leucas aspera
1. Choose the Right Location
Choose a location that receives six hours of direct sunlight per day. Planting Leucas aspera in partial shade may result in slower growth.
2. Prepare Soil Before Planting
Prepare the soil before planting. Dig out weeds and remove rocks and debris. Add organic matter such as composted manure or peat moss to the soil. Mix the fertilizer according to the label instructions.
3. Water Well
Water regularly during dry periods. Watering too frequently can cause root rot.
Dr. Vandana K.