Pogostemon auricularius (L.) Hassk.
Tijdschr. natuurl. gesch. physiol. 10: 127 (1843).


2n = 34

Synonyms Dysophylla auricularia (L.) Blume (1826).

Vernacular names Indonesia: ke kucing (Aceh), ketumpang (Javanese), kambing kambing (Kalimantan). Malaysia: kekucing. Philippines: buntot pusa (Tagalog). Thailand: saapraeng saapkaa (peninsular). Vietnam: t[us] h[uf]ng h[if]nh tai, c[or] c[of].

Origin and geographic distribution Pogostemon auricularius is distributed from India throughout South-East Asia and southern China but is not recorded from the Lesser Sunda Islands and from Australia.

Uses In Peninsular Malaysia and Indo-China, Pogostemon auricularius is commonly used in the treatment of simple stomach problems in children. The pounded leaves, sometimes mixed with lime, are applied as a poultice on the abdomen. In Indonesia, a poultice made from the leaves is also applied as a cure for diarrhoea, colic, worms, sores, kidney problems, and a sore throat. The leaves are chewed in Java against colic and flatulence. In Indo-China, a decoction is drunk to cure malaria, whereas a lotion is applied as a rubefacient against rheumatism. In Thailand, roots, stems or leaves are used as a diuretic or antipyretic. Pogostemon auricularius has also been mentioned as a potential anti-carcinogen.|The ground leaves of Pogostemon glaber Benth. are externally applied to relieve pain and itching of mosquito bites. In Malesia, an infusion of leaves of several Pogostemon species, e.g. Pogostemon auricularius, Pogostemon cablin, Pogostemon heyneanus Benth. and Pogostemon verticillatus (Roxb.) Bhatti & Ingr., is taken to allay painful menstruation. The leaves are also added to bath water to alleviate rheumatism. Pogostemon heyneanus is also known to be used as a carminative and diuretic, and as an insecticide for stored cereals. From the leaves of Pogostemon cablin (Blanco) Benth. an important essential oil, patchouli oil, is produced. The leaves are also put between clothes as an insect repellent, and the volatile oil is also used as an insect and leech repellent.

Production and international trade In Malesia, dried plants of Pogostemon auricularius are sold in Chinese pharmacies.

Properties From the aerial parts of Pogostemon auricularius, 4 cleistanthane type diterpenoids (C20) were isolated, of which one was identified as auricularic acid. On preliminary screening, these compounds exhibit spasmolytic activity.|The volatile oil of Pogostemon cablin contains a number of sesquiterpenes, of which ()-patchouli alcohol (patchoulol), and the closely related derivatives patchoulenol and patchoulenone are most abundant. Patchouli alcohol, pogostol and pogostone (dwelwanine) show antimicrobial activity against periodontopathic bacteria and/or fungi, while patchouli alcohol also showed significant inhibitory activity on K+ induced contractures of a guinea-pig taenia coli preparation. Patchouli alcohol, pogostol, stigmast-4-en-3-one, retusin and pachypodol show anti-emetic activity on copper sulphate induced-emesis in young chickens. The aerial parts also contain the flavonoid licochalcone A, which is used in the treatment of promyelocytic leukaemia cells (HL-60)with licochalcone A induced cell differentiation. Some Pogostemon species show toxicity to Anopheles stephensi and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito larvae.

Description An erect or procumbent, strong smelling annual herb, 3080 cm tall, stem simple or laxly branched, weak, bluntly 4-angular, pubescent with spreading hairs, pinkish. Leaves decussate, elliptical to ovate, 46 cm x 23 cm, base cuneate, apex acute, margin irregularly serrate, except near the base, membranaceous, pubescent and glandular on both surfaces; petiole 210 mm long, hairy; stipules absent. Inflorescence composed of crowded verticillasters, forming a dense terminal spike, 48 cm long; bracts narrowly elliptical, long ciliate; calyx subcampanulate, gland-dotted outside, 1.21.5 mm long, 5-toothed, teeth subequal, triangular, ciliate; calyx in fruit urn-shaped, 2.53.5 mm long, teeth often incurved over the nutlets; corolla 23.5 mm long, tube slender, exserted, lobes 4, equal, obtuse, pubescent, lavender, pale pink or white; stamens 4, subequal, filaments 3.54 mm long, slender, upper half villous, lilac; style 5 mm long, bifid; disk 0.3 mm long. Fruit consisting of 4 dry 1-seeded schizocarpous nutlets enclosed in the persistent calyx, nutlets ellipsoid, 0.6 mm x 0.4 mm, finely reticulate, brown. Seedling with epigeal germination; hypocotyl 12 mm long, glandular; cotyledons triangular, 2 mm long, apex obtuse; epicotyl hairy, greenish to purplish; first leaves 2, ovate, 3.5 mm long, margin crenate, nerves prominent, hairy, glandular underneath.

Growth and development Pogostemon auricularius flowers and fruits throughout the year. In marshy locations the stems are prostrate and root at the nodes. Plants spread over 12 m, with the erect flowering branches arising from the main stem. Pogostemon is pollinated by insects.

Other botanical information Pogostemon, including the genus Dysophylla, comprises almost 80 species, which are distributed from India to China and Japan, and throughout South and South-East Asia. India is the centre of diversity. The species that belonged to Dysophylla are still recognized at the sub-generic level, and Pogostemon auricularius, the former type of Dysophylla, now belongs to subgenus Dysophyllus, section Dysophyllus.

Ecology Pogostemon auricularius grows on sunny, constantly or periodically humid localities, borders of ditches, dams and upland rice fields, grassy wasteland and thickets. It is locally often common, from the lowland to 2000 m altitude.

Propagation and planting Pogostemon auricularius is propagated by seed, which is hydro- and epizoochorous.

Diseases and pests Specific information on Pogostemon auricularius is not available, but Pogostemon species are often affected by fungi including Alternaria and Cercospora spp., which attack the leaves, while other fungi attack the roots of the perennial species. In India, several viruses are known to cause mottling of the leaves of Pogostemon as well. Nematodes such as Heterodera marioni in Indonesia and Helicotylenchus, Tylenchorhynchus and Meloidogyne incognita in India, are very common pests.

Harvesting Pogostemon auricularius is harvested from the wild whenever the need arises.

Handling after harvest The leaves or whole plants of Pogostemon auricularius are dried in the shade, or used fresh.

Prospects The isolated compounds from Pogostemon auricularius need more research to assess their usefulness. Until more is known, its use will remain of local importance only.

  • Bhatti, G.R. & Ingrouille, M., 1997. Systematics of Pogostemon (Labiatae). Bulletin of the Natural History Museum. Botany series 27(2): 77147.
  • Hussaini, F.A., Agarwal, S., Roy, R., Prakash, O. & Shoeb, A., 1988. Novel cleistanthane diterpenoids from Pogostemon auricularius. Journal of Natural Products 51(2): 212216.
  • Ingrouille, M. & Bhatti, G.R., 1998. Infragenetic relationships within Pogostemon Desf. (Labiatae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 128(2): 159183.
  • Keng, H., 1978. Labiatae. In: van Steenis, C.G.G.J. (Editor): Flora Malesiana. Series 1, Vol. 8. Sijthoff & Noordhoff International Publishers, Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. pp. 301394.
  • Oyen, L.P.A., 1999. In: Oyen, L.P.A. & Nguyen Xuan Dung (Editors): Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 19. Essential-oil plants. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, the Netherlands. pp. 151157.
  • Soerjani, M., Kostermans, A.J.G.H. & Tjitrosoepomo, G. (Editors), 1987. Weeds of rice in Indonesia. Balai Pustaka, Jakarta, Indonesia. pp. 610611.

Author: Eulis Retnowati

Source of This Article:
Retnowati, E., 2001. Pogostemon auricularius (L.) Hassk.In: van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H. and Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Backhuys Publisher, Leiden, The Netherlands, pp. 443-445

Recommended Citation:
Retnowati, E., 2001. Pogostemon auricularius (L.) Hassk.[Internet] Record from Proseabase. van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H. and Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors).
PROSEA (Plant Resources of South-East Asia) Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. http://www.proseanet.org.
Accessed from Internet: 27-Jul-2017