9 Amazing Benefits of Indian Borage (Mexican Mint)

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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The most impressive health benefits of Indian Borage (also known as Mexican Mint) include its ability to improve the health of your skin, detoxify the body, defend against colds, ease the pain of arthritis, relieve stress and anxiety, reduce the progression of cancer, and optimize digestion.

What is Indian Borage (Mexican Mint)?

If you happen to stumble across a small green perennial plant in Africa that smells like oregano, there’s a good chance you’ve found Indian borage, which is also known as Mexican Mint, Spanish thyme, country borage, and other colloquial names. Although it is native to parts of southern and Eastern Africa, the demand for this beneficial herb has caused cultivation to spread to other tropical areas around the world with suitable growing conditions. The plant, whose scientific name is Plectranthus amboinicus, is very hardy and grows quickly, requires little water, and can even grow in colder conditions if the weather changes dramatically.

The leaves are the most sought-after parts of this plant, as they are ideal for flavoring meat and vegetable dishes, while the ground up dried leaves can be added to soups, stews, and other meals as an herb. While essential oils can be extracted from the leaves, they are more commonly used in full or powdered form and can be eaten normally or can be rubbed topically on the skin for some of its effects. Due to the presence of potent phenolics such as rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid, researchers have suggested that it has the potential to be used in nutraceuticals. Speaking of medicinal uses, let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of Indian borage.

Close up of fresh Indian borage placed on halved coconut shell on a wooden table

Nutrition Facts

Borage, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]93
Energy [kcal]21
Protein [g]1.8
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.7
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]3.06
Calcium, Ca [mg]93
Iron, Fe [mg]3.3
Magnesium, Mg [mg]52
Phosphorus, P [mg]53
Potassium, K [mg]470
Sodium, Na [mg]80
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.2
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]35
Thiamin [mg]0.06
Riboflavin [mg]0.15
Niacin [mg]0.9
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.08
Folate, DFE [µg]13
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]210
Vitamin A, IU [IU]4200
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.17
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.21
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.11
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Health Benefits of Indian Borage (Mexican Mint)

Health benefits of Indian borage (Mexican mint) includes:

Relieves Respiratory Issues

If you are suffering from a cold, a sore throat, congestion, a stuffy nose, or painful sinuses, you can chew on the leaves of Indian borage or brew a tea from the leaves. The compounds contained in the herb act as a powerful expectorant to eliminate mucus and phlegm from your respiratory tracts and clear out your sinuses. This can also help to boost your immune system by preventing bacteria or other pathogens from lodging and developing in your tracts.

Skin Care

One of the most popular uses of Indian borage is an effective skin treatment. From bug bites and stings to eczema and psoriasis, Indian borage possesses the anti-inflammatory compounds that can quickly reduce redness and swelling, while also eliminating itchiness and irritation.

Omega-6 Content

If you do choose to extract the essential oil from the leaves of Indian borage, the volatile compounds in that extract include omega-6 fatty acids, such as gamma-linolenic acid. This specific fatty acid has been linked to reducing arthritis by increasing joint regeneration; this can also be important for athletes or those with osteoporosis who have regular impact stress on their joints and bones.

Vitamin C and A

The high content of ascorbic acid found in the herb makes it important as an immune system booster, while the carotenoids and vitamin A content can improve vision, reducing oxidative stress in the eyes, and prevent macular degeneration.

Health benefits of Indian borage - infographic

Anti-cancer Potential

Praveena Bhatt et al. found that the stem of the Indian borage plant was rich in antioxidants and has the ability to scavenge free radicals. The extract of this plant helped inhibit proliferation of cancer cells (Journal of Chemistry 2013) and also, has showed the potential for antiplatelet aggregation ability.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Although this is one of the lesser-known benefits of Indian borage, some of the organic compounds and minerals found in this herb have been shown to be mildly sedative in nature, so this herbal remedy, particularly in tea form, is often offered to people with high anxiety or chronic stress to induce relaxation, peace of mind, and healthy, restful sleep.

Improves Kidney Health

Indian borage acts as a very effective diuretic, which means that it can clean the body of toxins by stimulating urination; this also reduces the amount of excess salt, fat, and water in the body, keeping the kidneys and lymphatic system functioning smoothly.

Treats Fever

If you are suffering from a cold or flu, one of the common symptoms is a fever. Typically, you don’t start getting better until your fever “breaks”, as a sign that your immune system is making some headway. Indian borage is a sudorific, meaning that it stimulates sweating, which also helps to clear out toxins through the skin and speed the recovery process.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

In traditional use, Indian borage was commonly used to settle upset stomachs and relieve irritable bowel syndrome by regulating digestion and soothing stomach inflammation. Brewing tea from the leaves of Indian borage is the most effective way to take advantage of this health benefit.

Word of Warning

The bristly leaves and stems may cause mild contact dermatitis to people with sensitive skin, but generally, there is no allergenic potential in Indian borage. Due to its potent mixture of compounds and chemicals, however, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are discouraged from using the herb.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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