15 Top Medicinal Uses Of Karpooravalli (Karpuravalli | Panikoorka | Doddapatre)

Karpooravalli also called Karpooravalli, Omavalli, Doddapatre, Panikoorka and Indian Borage is a very important herb that has wonderful medicinal uses and health benefits. Karpooravalli is traditionally used for treating cold and cough in infants, babies and adults. It is also used for treating hair problems like grey hair and dandruff, aiding weight loss, for promoting hair growth and also for treating asthma and fever. Here at home, we make karpooravalli rasam and chutney with the leaves for treating cold and cough. Along with karpooravalli rasam and chutney, karpooravalli pachadi also called doddapatre tambuli in Kannada is also quite famous.

Karpooravalli Plant:

Karpooravalli is a very highly aromatic perennial herb that is found in warm tropical countries like India, Australia and Africa. Karpooravalli is a succulent plant that can reach almost a meter in height and can be seen growing wildly in villages in India. If you visit any village in South India, you will find karpooravalli plants very easily.

We have plenty of karpooravalli plant growing wildly in our farm. The leaves are fleshy and highly aromatic, they have oregano like smell. They can be used as substitute for oregano in cooking. If we just touch karpooravalli leaves, the beautiful refreshing smell will linger in our hands for a long time. An essential oil is also distilled from the leaves and it also has amazing medicinal uses due to the presence of large amounts of bioactive compounds.

It is sold under the name of “Indian Borage Essential Oil”. We can easily grow karpooravalli plant in small pots in our homes. It grows well in full sunlight and also in partial shade so it can be grown easily in a balcony. Karpooravalli needs a well drained soil, if we over water the plant the root will start to root. It is usually propagated by stem cuttings and it can withstand long duration’s of drought and needs little to no maintenance at all.

Karpooravalli Botanical & Common Names:

The botanical name of karpooravalli plant is Plectranthus Amboinicus and it belongs to the family Lamiaceae and genus Plectranthus. Karpooravalli, Omavalli and Karpuravalli are the Tamil names. It is commonly called Indian Borage, Mexican Mint, Indian Mint, Mexican Oregano and Spanish Thyme in English. It is called Patharchur and Patta Ajwain in Hindi, Pathurchur in Marathi, Panikoorka in Malayalam, Sambarballi and Doddapatre in Kannada and Vamu Aaku in Telugu.

Karpooravalli Traditional Uses:

  • Karpooravalli is traditionally used for treating cold and cough. This is one home remedy that we resort to first when we get a cold and cough, I have given the method of making karpooravalli cough medicine along with the dosage below.
  • Karpooravalli is used for treating fevers especially malaria fever. It is a common practice to give karpooravalli rasam to people suffering from cold, cough and fever. At home, we grind the fresh leaves along with little water and consume it for treating all respiratory problems.
  • Traditionally karpooravalli is also used for treating skin diseases. We apply the fresh leaf paste as a poultice on the affected area. It helps treat boils and wounds very quickly.
  • Karpooravalli is extensively used for treating chest congestion in both Infants and babies. The vapor inhaled by boiling the leaves in water is very effective in removing the chest congestion in babies, you can also apply the juice on the chest.
  • Karpooravalli is used for treating headache too. The juice of the leaves when applied on the fore head is a very good home remedy for headache, this is a very popular practice in Tamil Nadu.
  • Karpooravalli is also used for treating hair problems. During winter season karpooravalli can be added to the ingredients for making oil bath, it prevents cold and headache during winter season and it also treats dandruff.
  • Karpooravalli is also used in the treatment of hiccups, mouth ulcers, skin infections, colic asthma and indigestion.

Karpooravalli Chemical Constituents:

a. Essential Oil

The essential oil obataines from karpooravalli leaves and steams contains around 76 volatile compounds!
Some of the compounds that are found in significant amounts are carvacrol (43%), thymol (7.2%), eugenol (6.4%), chavicol (5.3%), Et-salicylate (3%). The percentage of the volatile compounds found in the essential have been shown to be varied depending on the environment and the seasons.

b. The Whole Plant

The whole plant extract showed the presence of phenolic acid, flavonoids, monoterpene hydrocarbons,  oxygenated monoterpenes, esters, etc. Some of the important phenolic acids present are caffeic acid, gallic acid, rosmarinic acid, etc. Some of the important flavonoids present are chrysoeriol, cirsimaritin, eriodictyol, leutolin and rutin, etc.

Karpooravalli Medicinal Uses:

1. Antibacterial Properties:

Karpooravalli leaf extract, karpooravalli leaf decoction and the essential oil have powerful anti bacterial properties. They are proven the be effective agianst some of the bacterial strains like Escherichia coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, etc.

2. Anti Fungal Properties:

Karpooravalli leaf extract and the essential oil possess anti fungal properties and they inhibited them to almost 60%. They are effective against various fungus like Aspergillus Niger, Aspergillus Ochraceus, Pencillium, etc.

3. Anti Viral Properties:

Karpooravalli has anti viral properties and is shown to be effective aginst HIV, HSV1 and VSV. One amazing thing about karpooravalli is when applied topically, it can protect a person against the transmission of the deadly HIV virus!

4. Treats Respiratory Problems:

In India, karpooravalli is widely used for treating respiratory problems like cough, asthma, cold and sore throat. Both the water decoction and fresh leaf extract is used and now even the essential oil is use. This is due to the presence of high amounts of thymol and carvacrol, they are both excellent expectorants.

5. Antioxidant Properties:

Karpooravalli is very rich in antioxidants and consuming it in any form will reduce oxidative stress and improve immunity. The essential oil also posses significant antioxidant properties and has been proven to be effective against stress caused during cell line induced lung cancer.

6. Wound healing Properties:

Karpooravalli has wonderful wound healing properties too. Traditionally the leaf is pounded into a paste and then applied as a poultice over the wound. Karpooravalli when applied externally for wound healing improves collagen deposition, increases wound contraction and also reduces epithelialization period!

7. Anti Inflammatory & Analgesic:

The reason keelanelli is so effective while taken during cold and flu is due to it’s anti inflammatory and analgesic properties. It helps reduce headache, body pain and also inflammation that is very common during cold and flu. If you are recovering from fever or cold, try drinking karpooravalli rasam or soup for a few days, it will greatly help…

8. Treats Oral Diseases:

Another lesser known but very effective use of karpooravalli is it prevents many dental problems if used as a mouth wash. To make mouth wash all we have to do is boil the leaves in water. It prevents bacterial infection greatly, this is due to the high amounts of carvacrol present in karpooravalli.

9. Treats Skin & Hair Diseases:

Karpooravalli treats many skin and hair problems. It treats hair problems like dandruff and itchy scalp, for treating dandruff, mix the essential oil with a base oil and apply. Karpooravalli treats many skin problems including cuts, burns and allergies when applied as a poultice.

10. Treats Insect & Animal Bites:

Karpooravalli is applied externally for treating scorpion bites and centipede bites. The juice got by bruising the leaves when applied on the skin also acts as a natural mosquito repellent and the leaves can also can be carried if you are going camping to ward of mosquitoes.

11. Anti Malarial Properties:

Karpooravalli is not only effective against warding off mosquitoes when applied externally but also helps treat malaria fever which  is a mosquito borne disease. The effect was dosage dependent and it varied from 75 % to 90 % depending on the dosage. You can read the study that supports this claim here.

12. Anti Cancer Properties:

Both karpooravalli and karpooravalli essential oil have powerful anti cancer properties! Karpooravalli leaf extract has been proven to inhibit the growth breast cancer cells and the karpooravalli essential oil has been proven to be effective against lung cancer. You can read the study that proves it here.

13. For Diabetic Patients:

Karpooravalli is real boon for diabetic patients as it both helps reduce high blood sugar levels along with treating other problems associated with diabetes. One of the many complications of diabetes is slower wound healing but when we apply karpoorpavalli extract it greatly helps in fast wound healing, this has been proven in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.

14. Treats Digestive Problems:

Karpooravalli is used for treating many digestive problems including indigestion, diarrhea and dyspepsia. Another very intresting but very significant of karpooravalli is it has prebiotic properties. Prebiotics helps in the growth of probiotic bacteria which is very essential for gut health.

15. For Arthritic Patients:

Karpooravalli is amazing for people suffering from arthritis as it helps both reduce the pain and inflammation. Many people over the age of 60 years are suffering from arthritis and some are forced to take pain reducing medication due to the intense pain regularly which comes with lot of side effects. Consuming karpooravalli rasam regularly will lessen the pain and inflammation without any side effects.

Karpooravalli Side Effects:

Karpooravalli has low toxicity and has been used in traditional medicine for a long time so it is considered very safe. But I would suggest consuming it in the dosage and duration mentioned. We don’t consume karpooravalli daily, we mainly use it as a medicine. I found a study in which a lady developed skin allergy after regular long term use of karpooravalli leaf extract and once she stopped using it, the ulcer healed fast. But this incident is very very rare and I have never seen anyone reacting to karpooravalli like this.

3 Top Ways To Use Karpooravalli:

1. Karpooravalli Cough Syrup:

To make the cough medicine, wash the leaves well. Pound these leaves in a mortar and pestle. As the leaves are fleshy, it gives out it’s juice easily. Add 1-2 tbsp of boiled water when pounding the leaves to make it easier to extract the juice. Strain the juice. When you are straining the juice, press the leaves with your hands to extract the juice from it completely and discard the leaves. Add honey to the extracted juice and your cough medicine is ready! One gets good relief from cough with this remedy. The juice of these leaves have a very strong distinctive smell, but it is not bitter. Don’t substitute honey with sugar for this remedy, as sugar will increase the cough. We even treat small children with this remedy. Try drinking this juice, at least for three days to get good relief from cough. For children reduce the quantity, for young babies a tsp of this juice will be enough.

2. Karpooravalli Rasam:

To make karpooravalli rasam, take a small lemon sized tamarind and soak it in 11/2 cups of water for 15 minutes to soften it. Now take 2 large garlic cloves, 1/4 tsp of peppercorns, 2 small green chillies, 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds and pound coarsely in a mortar and pestle. Finally add in 6 to 7 karpooravalli leaves and pound everything together a few more times. Heat a tsp of ghee in a pan, add in 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds and 1/4 tsp of asafoetida, once mustard seeds splutters, add in 1 red chilli broken and 1 finely chopped ripe tomato and fry till tomato turns mushy. Now add in the pounded spices and fry for a few more seconds. Finally add in tamarind water along with salt and let it boil in low to medium flame till the raw smell disappears. Don’t let it boil, once it is about to start boiling, switch off. This karpooravalli rasam is amazing for treating all cold related problems.

3. Karpooravalli Chutney:

To make karpooravalli chutney, take 3 teaspoons of urad dal and fry in a tsp of oil till golden and remove. You can also add in equal part urad dal and chana dal too instead of adding only urad dal. Now add in 2 red chillies to the left over oil in the pan and fry till it changes color and remove. Finally add in a handful of washed karpooravalli leaves and fry till it is wilted and then add 1/4 cup of freshly grated coconut and a small piece of tamraind and fry for a minute or two and remove. Now add very little water and required amount of salt and grind to a thick but coarse paste. This chutney is usually served along with rice and a small amount of ghee. It tastes wonderful and helps reduce inflammation and pain greatly!

47 Comments

  1. AparnaRajeshkumar
    April 14, 2013 / 6:55 am

    long time back amma gave this to me ! now i totally forget about this ! thats a good info !

  2. Anonymous
    August 20, 2013 / 4:02 am

    Good information. Thanks

  3. shanmuga vel
    August 25, 2013 / 11:51 am

    Good one for cold

  4. siva
    February 5, 2014 / 2:20 am

    Thanks for updating

    • Svigneshkumar
      February 12, 2018 / 12:56 pm

      This is available in dubai country ican purchase at dubai

  5. Anonymous
    June 2, 2015 / 6:41 am

    Can these leaves be dried and used later?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 6, 2015 / 4:31 pm

      Yes, you can dry the leaves and use them later…

  6. Napols8
    September 27, 2015 / 4:30 am

    அருமை

  7. Anonymous
    November 13, 2015 / 5:20 am

    How many leaves needed to make juice to be given to 5 year old? How many times a day?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      November 21, 2015 / 3:51 am

      For a 5 year old kid, 2 big karpooravalli leaves will be enough. Give the juice once in empty stomach for 3 days…

    • Anonymous
      February 25, 2018 / 12:15 am

      to add… please include milk in the child's diet, as karpooravalli will increase body heat. I use a combination of karpooravalli and alternate it with arathai and athimathuram powder, a pinch of each , mixed with honey. these natural com remedies will dry up mucous membranes if overdozed and cause a typical headache.so, use limited quantity between 3 or 4 hours followed with 1 or 3/4 glass of warm milk.

  8. Unknown
    December 12, 2015 / 10:22 am

    For a 18 month old how much should I give.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      December 19, 2015 / 4:43 pm

      For 18 month old child, the juice of half a karpooravalli leaf will work well….

    • Anonymous
      January 26, 2016 / 11:30 pm

      For 3 year baby how many leaves ad how many days can give . any side effects

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      February 21, 2016 / 5:38 pm

      For 3 year old baby you can give the juice of 2 leaves and it can be given for 3 days. If given in the proper dosage it will not have any side effects…

  9. Rajamohan Dhandapani
    January 23, 2016 / 2:06 am

    Very useful information. Thanks

  10. Anonymous
    February 21, 2016 / 6:13 am

    This is also known as French thyme. In grows well indoors if placed in a sunny window. I have them all over my house and we live in a somewhat colder region. These are not winter hardy plants

  11. mercy
    February 26, 2016 / 9:52 am

    For 2months baby how should I give

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 21, 2016 / 3:41 pm

      I would suggest waiting till the baby is at least 4 to 5 months old before giving karpooravalli…

  12. Unknown
    March 10, 2016 / 1:46 am

    I eat 3 leaves with some rock salt when i get first sign of cough / cold… always helps

  13. Priya
    May 28, 2016 / 11:07 pm

    During pregnancy can i eat karpora valli leaf for cold

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 7, 2016 / 7:43 am

      Yes you can karpooravalli while pregnant for treating cold…

  14. sindhu sibi
    July 10, 2016 / 2:54 am

    How much should I give for 4 months old baby??

  15. sindhu sibi
    July 10, 2016 / 2:56 am

    How much should I have to give for 4 months old baby?

  16. sindhu sibi
    July 10, 2016 / 2:59 am

    How much should I have to give for 4 months old baby, when to give and how many times??

  17. sindhu sibi
    July 10, 2016 / 3:00 am

    How much should I give for 4 months old baby??

  18. Kamaljit Kaur Narangen Singh
    July 10, 2016 / 4:23 am

    hi.. for 4 month baby how much to give? how to calculate a proper dosage according to their age? my eldest 7 yrs and 2 yrs old.. tq

  19. Kamaljit Kaur Narangen Singh
    July 10, 2016 / 4:25 am

    hi.. how much to give to 4 month baby?.. how to calculate the correct dose according to the age?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      July 15, 2016 / 8:27 am

      For new born babies, we usually give around 5 to 6 drops of karpooravalli juice. For 7 year old child, 5 ml of the karpooravalli juice can be given. It can be given once everyday for 3 days…

  20. ingrid
    August 25, 2016 / 3:50 am

    Thank You For Information

  21. Saranya Perumal
    September 26, 2016 / 2:04 am

    Hi

  22. PARTHASARATHI SUBRAMANIAN
    October 5, 2016 / 2:25 pm

    Thank you so much for the valuable information. In my home, its grown like a bush. By your blog, I got a method to this leaves.Thanks,ParthasarathiMysore

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      November 3, 2016 / 3:07 pm

      I am glad, karpooravalli has wonderful medicinal uses…

  23. Priya R
    October 15, 2016 / 6:43 pm

    hi,how many leaves should be given for a 16 month old baby?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      November 3, 2016 / 3:17 pm

      Use the juice of 2 small karpooravalli leaves, 8 to 10 drops pf the juice will work well…..

  24. Priya R
    October 15, 2016 / 6:43 pm

    how many leaves should be given to a 16 month old baby?

  25. Anonymous
    October 26, 2016 / 1:40 am

    its a variety of Basil and not Thyme

  26. Anonymous
    October 26, 2016 / 1:41 am

    Thyme is called Omam in Tamil

  27. Anonymous
    November 5, 2016 / 9:20 am

    is there any side effect for using karpooravalli leaf. because I dont have a kid. is it affect anything. pls guide me.

  28. thilaga sundari
    February 6, 2017 / 7:04 am

    My 11 month old shows signs of cold (grunting sound while breathing).. I've been giving a paladai of diluted karpooravalli juice (karpooravalli leaves warmed up till dark green in a tawa & juice squeezed) for about 4 days now but I see no effect. Is there something am doing wrong? 🙁

  29. nalliah manivannan
    December 9, 2017 / 6:03 am

    My mother's favorite home medicine,we have it in home till now, the method is new & good to adopt for children.

  30. Unknown
    February 1, 2018 / 4:54 am

    My kid eats more than 10 karpooravalli leaves . He s only 2 1/2 year old. Can he eat that much leaves?

  31. Meghalai Sadasivam
    February 9, 2018 / 8:57 am

    Hi can i give the juice to 4 month old baby? As i know babies can only drink milk for the first 6 months. Kindly advise.

    • lovemealwizz
      February 15, 2018 / 8:13 am

      Around 5 to 6 drops of karpooravalli juice works well..

  32. Subash
    April 16, 2018 / 5:27 am

    I am old school, I still use this remedys even now on my kids and guranteed it works all the time. Great to learn of all the natural healing remedys.

  33. Sindhuja Vijay
    June 25, 2018 / 6:54 pm

    Can it be preserve in fridge and use later?

    • Ramya (Wildturmeric)
      Author
      June 26, 2018 / 6:00 pm

      Yes, you can Sindhuja…

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