Cat's Whiskers
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Cat's Whiskers
ative Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: Cat's Whiskers, Java Tea, Kidney Tea Plant • Manipuri: ꯋꯥꯔꯛ ꯂꯩꯈꯥꯝ Warak Leikham • Mizo: Zunthlum-kung • Malayalam: Poochameesa
Botanical name: Orthosiphon aristatus    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Clerodendrum spicatum, Orthosiphon spiralis, Orthosiphon stamineus

Cat's Whiskers is a perennial herb found mainly throughout South East Asia and tropical Australia. It grows to be about 1 to 3 feet tall and has a very open branching habit with 1-inch dark green, ovate leaves with serrated margins. At the end of the branches are racemes of flowers. When the flowers open, the stamens and pistil extend out far beyond the petals, creating the "cat's whiskers" effect. The flowers are most commonly white, but they can also occur in light shades of purple.
Medicinal uses: In Manipur, the leaves are used as tea in kidney and bladder diseases. According to clinical studies, infusion of dried leaf has diuretic effect and increases uric acid excretion.

Identification credit: Gerald Carr Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.

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