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Family Lamiaceae
Orthosiphon aristatus (Blume) Miq.

Mao xu cao

Scientific names  Common names 
Clerodendrathus spicatus (Thunb.) C.Y.Wu Balbas-pusa (Tag.) 
Clerodendrathus stamineus (Benth.) Kudo Kabling-gubat (Tag.) 
Clerodendrum spicatum Thunb. Kabling-parang (Tag.) 
Ocimum aristatum Blume Cat's whiskers (Engl.)
Ocimum grandiflorum Blume [Illegitimate] Indian kidney tea (Engl.)
Orthosiphon aristatus (Blume) Miq. Java tea (Engl.)
Orthosiphon spiralis (Lour) Merr. Kidney tea plant (Engl.)
Orthosiphon stamineus Benth.  
Orthosiphon tagawae Murata  
Trichostema spirale Lour.  
Kabling-parang is a shared common name of two medicinal plants: (1) Anisomeles indica, Malabar catmint, kabling lalake, and (2) Orthosiphon aristatus, Kabling-gubat, Balbas-pusa, Cat's whisker
Cat's whisker is a common name shared by: (1) Orthosiphon aristatus, Kabling-gubat, Balbas-pusa, and (2) Gynandropsis gynandra, spider flower.
Orthosiphon aristatus (Blume) Miq. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CAMBODIAN: Kapen prey.
CHINESE: Mao xu cao.
GERMAN: Katzenbart.
INDONESIAN: Kutum, Mamam, Bunga laba-laba, Kumis ucing, Remuk jung, Songot koceng, Sesalaseyan.
JAPANESE: Nek no hige.
MALAYSIAN: MIsai kucing, Ruku hutan.
MYANMAR: Se-cho, Myit-shwe.
THAI: Yaa-nuat-maeo, Yaa-nuad-maew, Pa-yab-mek.

Kabling-gubat is a slender, smooth or hairy undershrub, 30 to 60 centimeters high. Leaves in distant pairs, narrowed into the stalk, ovate, 5 to 10 centimeters long, pointed at both ends, coarsely toothed at the margins. Flowers are borne in very lax racemes. Calyx is bell-shaped, with a naked throat and two slender lower teeth. Corolla is 2.5 centimeters long, smooth, white or purplish, very slender in the tube, and thrice as long as the calyx. Nutlets are oblong and compressed.

- In thickets, at low and medium altitudes in Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, and Rizal Provinces in Luzon; and in Coron.
- Also occurs in India through Malaya to tropical parts of Australia.

- Leaves contain a high percentage of potassium salts (0.738 gm in 100 grams of fresh leaves.
- From dried leaves, a small amount of volatile oil and a bitter alkaloid, orthosiphonin.
- Studies yielded flavonoids, carbohydrates, tannins, saponins, phenols, and terpenoids.
- Phytochemical screening yielded twenty compounds: nine lipophilic flavones, two flavonol glycosides, and nine caffeic acid derivatives. Caffeic acid derivatives included the major compounds rosmarinic acid and 2,3-dicaffeoyltartaric acid.
- Major constituents are sesquiterpenes including ß-elemene, ß-caryophyllene, orthochromene A, acetovanillochromene, sinensetin, tetramethyl scutellarein, eupatorin, neoOrthosiphons A and B. (25)

- Considered anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, diuretic and hypoglycemic.
- Studies have showed diuretic, antioxidant, anti-tumor, nephroprotective, anti-diabetic, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective properties.

Parts utilized

- Tea made from leaves and fresh or dried flowers.
- Leaves are bitter with a characteristic odor.
- Leaves reportedly rich in potassium (738 mg/ 100 g of fresh leaves).


- Leaves used for gout and renal disorders.
- Also used for its diuretic effect.
- Poultice of leaves or chewed leaves stuffed onto painful tooth.
- In South East Asia and Australia, frequently used for renal inflammation, kidney stones and dysuria.
- In Holland and France, reported use for treatment of genitourinary diseases.
- In Malaysia, traditionally used for bladder catarrh, diabetes, kidney diseases, for hypertension and as diuretic.
- In Java, leaves made into tea for treatment of diseases of the kidney and bladder. Used as diuretic and for treatment of diabetes, rheumatism, hypertension, and biliary lithiasis. In Malaysia, used for treatment of catarrh; plant decoction used to eliminate bladder stones. In Japan, used a tea to facilitate body detoxification. (24)
- Java Tea is derived from Orthosiphon aristatus, touted for its diuretic action, kidney flushing benefits for kidney and bladder stones.
- New age uses: Extracts used for skin whitening and as anti-cellulitic. Creams and lotions used to decrease skin oiliness.

Antihypertensive / Methylripariochromene: Methylripariochromene A (MRC), isolated from the leaves of OA showed blood pressure lowering effect and a vasodilating action, decrease cardiac output and diuretic action. It supports the traditional use of the plant for hypertension treatment. (1)
Na+,K+-ATPase Inhibition: In the study of ten Thai indigenous medicinal plants, O aristatus showed high potent inhibitory activity. (2)
Inhibition of Smooth Muscle Contraction: Three Indonesian medicinal plants were studied for their biologically active constituents. Three benzochromenes and four isopimarane-type diterpenes isolated from the leaves of Orthoshiphon aristatus were shown to exhibit inhibitory effects on smooth muscle contractions caused by several stimulants (3)
Pimarane-type Diterpenes / Suppressive Effect on Thoracic Aortic Contraction: Study isolated pimarane-type diterpenes, neoorthosiphols A and B, and other known compounds from the water decoction of leaves of O. aristatus. The compounds exhibited a suppressive effect on contractile responses in rat thoracic aorta. (10)
Diuretic: O. stamineus extract exhibited dose-dependent diuretic activity with a significantly increased excretion of K. There was also slight increase of BUN, creatinine and blood glucose levels, although statistically significant when compared to control , the levels were considered within normal range. Although less potent than furosemide and HCTZ, care should be taken in its consumption because of alterations in kidney parameters.
Nephrolitihiasis Study : In a randomized control trial of Orthosiphon versus placebo, no statistically significant difference was found. (6)
Hepatoprotective : A study on the methanol extract of leaves of Orthosiphon stamineus against paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity showed treatment with OS extract brought back the altered biochemical markers in a dose-dependent manner suggesting hepatoprotective activity. (2) Study showed dose-dependent in vivo hepatoprotective activity of Et-F on liver injury induced by CCl4 in mice. (8) Study showed the hepatoprotective effect of Orthosiphon stamineus which was attributed to antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. (28)
Diuretic / Hypouricemic : A study on the methanol extract of OS showed significantly increased excretion of sodium and potassium excretion in a pattern comparable to hydrochlorothiazide. It also showed reduced serum urate level in hyperuricemic rats. Study provides evidence towards a diuretic and hypouricemic effect in rats. (9)
Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory : A study results showed the ethanolic extract and its bioactive compound, ursolic acid, suppress LPS-induced NO and PGE2 production by inhibiting ROS generation, along with reducing expression of iNOS and COX-2 in RAW 264.7 cells. (11)
Radical Scavenging Activity / Flavonoid : Study concludes a correlation between flavonoid content and radical scavenging activity. In the study, F obovata, D lobbiana and O aristatus exhibited the highest free radical scavenging activity. (12)
No Diuretic Effect / Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study: In a study of four traditional Vietnamese herbal remedies (Z mays, I cylindrica, Plantago major, O stamineus) claiming to increase diuresis, no diuretic effect was seen in a placebo-controlled double-blind crossover model.
Antioxidant / Hepatoprotective : Study showed dose-dependent in vivo hepatoprotective activity of Et-F on liver injury induced by CCl4 in mice. An n-butanol fraction showed higher in vitro antioxidant activity on FRAP assay than others in the DPPH assay. Results show O. aristatus is a potential source of natural antioxidants and hepatoprotective agents. (15)
Nephroprotective: Study in rats investigated the nephroprotective effect of O. stamineus in gentamicin-induced renal damage. Lab parameters were improved and the extent of renal damage was decreased by a methanolic extract of O. stamineus. (16)
Histamine Antagonist / Anti-Asthma: Study showed Oa exhibited bronchodilator and antihistamine action as theophylline did. Results propose several mechanisms of actions: (1) chemical constituents that might stimulate adenyl cyclase that stimulates increase cAMP production from ATP, with consequent vasodilatation and bronchodilation. (2) extract may inhibit phosphodiesterase with consequent increase in cAMP (3) extract could be a histamine antagonist, or (4) anticholinergic activity. (19)
Anti-Inflammatory: Study of leaf extracts showed anti-inflammatory activity. The flavonoid rich chloroform extract fraction containing sinensetin, eupatorin, and 3'-hydroxy-5,6,7,4'-tetramethoxyflavone, significantly reduced rat hind paw edema, NO, and decreased dye leakage. Results suggest the anti-inflammatory effects may be due to the presence of flavonoid compounds affecting the NO pathway.   (18)
Anthelmintic: Study evaluated the efficacy of O. aristatus aqueous crude extract as anthelmintic. Results showed effective control of swine parasites with decreased number of worm eggs and reduced number of adult worms. (20)
Antihypertensive / Methylripariochromene A : Study isolated methylripariochromene A (MRC) from the leaves of O. aristatus and tested on hypertensive related pharmacological efficacy. Results showed MRC possesses blood pressure lowering property i.e. vasodilating, decrease in cardiac output and diuretic action. (21)
Antioxidant / Toxicity Study: Study evaluated the antioxidant activity and potential toxicity of a 50% methanolic extract of leaves after acute (5000 mg/kg single dose) and subchronic (1250, 2500, and 5000 mg/kg/day for 28 days) administration in rats. Results showed good superoxide radical scavenging, hydroxyl radical scavenging, ferrous ion chelating, and antilipid peroxidation activities. No mortality or any signs of toxicity was detected in the acute and subchronic toxicity studies. The oral lethal dose was more than 5000 mg/kg with NOAEL and MEOS for both male and female rats of 5000 mg/kbw per day. (22)
• Antiobesity: Administration of O. stamineus extract for two weeks significantly decreased total food intake, weight gain and visceral fat deposition in rats Decrease food intake was associated with an increase of hypothalamic POMC expression while decreasing NPY expression was caused by elevation of plasma leptin level. (24)
• Drug Interactions / Lithium: Lithium interacts with Java tea. Java tea might decrease the excretion of lithium and increase its blood level which may require an adjustment of its dose. (26) Patients should also be cautioned that the herb can augment the prescription diuretic effects.
• Nephroprotective / Ethylene Glycol Induced Urolithiasis / Leaves: Study of ethanolic extract of leaves of O. stamineus showed nephroprotective activity in ethylene glycol induced urolithiasis in albino rats. Results showed an effective decrease in the abnormal level of biomarkers involved in the kidney defect. (27)
• Potentiation of Herb-Drug Interaction / Interaction with Human Cytochrome P450: Extract showed moderate inhibition towards CYP2C9 with IC50 of 49.90, 89.24, and 97.82 µg/mL for CYP1A2, CYP2D6, and CYP3A4, respectively. Results suggest O. stamineus extract may potentiate herb-drug interaction via CYP inhibition. (29)
• Anti-Diabetic / α-Glucosidase Inhibitors / Leaves: Study of an aqueous extract of leaves isolated methyl caffeate (1), 3,4-dihydroxy benzaldehyde (2), methyl rosmarinate (3) and rosmarinic acid (4). These compounds were active against α-glucosidase from the rat intestine (maltase and sucrase) with IC50 values in the range of 0.061-0.738 mM, equipotent to standard antidiabetic drug acarbose. (30)

Toxicity Study
Chronic Toxicity Test: A study on the chronic toxicity of water extract of Orthosiphon aristatus on Wistar rats showed that high doses of the extract caused a reduction of serum sodium levels in all extract-treated groups and increase alkaline phosphatase level and incidence of hydrocalyx in male rats, therefore advising that the prolonged use of OA should be avoided. (7)

Tea, powders, extracts in the cybermarket.

Updated April 2017 / March 2014

Photos / Content © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Antihypertensive actions of methylripariochromene A from Orthosiphon aristatus, an indonesian traditional medicinal plant / MATSUBARA T; BOHGAKI T et al / Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin / Oct 1999, vol. 22, no10, pp. 1083-108
Inhibitory effects of selected Thai medicinal plants on Na+,K+-ATPase / Nattaya Ngamrojanavanich et al / Fitoterapia, Vol 77, Issue 6, September 2006, Pages 481-483 / doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2006.06.003 |
Three Indonesian medicinal plants were studied for their biologically active constituents /
Diuretic properties of Orthosiphon stamineus Benth / Y. Adam, M.N. Somchit et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology Vol 124, Issue 1, 6 July 2009, Pages 154-158 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.04.014 /

Chemical Specification of Orthosiphon aristatus (Blume) Miq. / Duangpen Pattamodilok et al / Medicinal Plant Research Institute, Department of Medical Sciences, Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand.
Orthosiphon Versus Placebo in Nephrolithiasis with Multiple Chronic Complaints: A Randomized Control Trial / Amorn Premgamone et al / eCAM 2009 6(4):495-501; doi:10.1093/ecam/nem141
Chronic toxicity test of Orthosiphon aristatus (Bl.) miq.extract / Bulletin of Department of Medical Sciences 1999; 41(1): 41-54 / Medicinal Plant Research Institute, Department of Medical Sciences / Division of Clinical Pathology, Department of Medical Sciences, Tiwanond Road, Nonthaburi11000
Hepatoprotective Activity of “Orthosiphon stamineus” on Liver Damage Caused by Paracetamol in Rats
/ C. Maheswari, R.Maryammal and R. Venkatanarayanan / Jordan Journal of Biological Sciences, Vol 1, Number 3, Pages 105 -108, September. 2008
Studies on diuretic and hypouricemic effects of Orthosiphon stamineus methanol extracts in rats / O.M. Arafat, S.Y. Tham et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology / Volume 118, Issue 3, 13 August 2008, Pages 354-360/ doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.04.015

Indonesian Medicinal Plants. XXIII.1) Chemical Structures of Two New Migrated Pimarane-type Diterpenes, Neoorthosiphols A and B, and Suppressive Effects on Rat Thoracic Aorta of Chemical Constituents Isolated from the Leaves of Orthosiphon aristatus (Lamiaceae) / Kazuyoshi Ohashi et al / Chem. Pharm. Bull. 48(3) 433—435 (2000)
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Orthosiphon aristatus and Its Bioactive Compounds / Chin-Lin Hsu et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2010, 58 (4), pp 2150–2156 / DOI: 10.1021/jf903557c
Free Radical Scavenging Activity of Some Malaysian Medicinal Plants / Muhammad Taher / 19th CPA-MPS 2007, KUALA LUMPUR
Studies on the individual and combined diuretic effects of four Vietnamese traditional herbal remedies (Zea mays, Imperata cylindrica, Plantago major and Orthosiphon stamineus) / Doan Du Dat, Nguyen Ngoc Ham et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 36, Issue 3, June 1992, Pages 225-231 / doi:10.1016/0378-8741(92)90048-V
Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of the Phenolic Constituents from Orthosiphon aristatus.
/ Sumaryono W, Proksch P, Wray V, Witte L, Hartmann T. / Planta Med. 1991 Apr;57(2):176-80.
Antioxidant and Hepatoprotective Effects of Orthosiphon aristatus on Liver Damage Induced by CCl4 in Mice / Natural Institute of Medicinal Materials (NIMM)
Efficacy of Orthosiphon aristatus and Norfloxacin in theTreatment of Patients with Multiple Chronic Health Complaints under Restriction of Purine-rich Food / Amorn Premgamone, Pote Sriboolue, Srinoi Maskasem, Wattana Ditsataporncharoen / Journal of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine
HPLC and Anti-Inflammatory Studies of the Flavonoid Rich Chloroform Extract Fraction of Orthosiphon Stamineus Leaves / Mun Fei Yam, Vuanghao Lim 1, Ibrahim Muhammad Salman et al / Molecules 2010, 15, 4452-4466; doi:10.3390/molecules15064452
Effect of Orthospihon aristatus Extract as Histamine Antagonist on Tracheal Chain of Guinea Pig / Nantaya Chanarat et al / Bull Chiang Mai Assoc Med Sci, Vol 30, Suppl No 1, 1997
The Anthelmintic Property of Orthosiphon aristatus (Balbas Pusa) Ethanolic Extract / JHOANNA B. CALUBAQUIB / doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7718/iamure.ijscl.v4i1.630 / International Peer Reviewed Journal, Vol. 4 June 2013
Antihypertensive actions of methylripariochromene A from Orthosiphon aristatus, an Indones
/ T Matsubara, T Bohgaki, M Watarai, H Suzuki, K Ohashi, H Shibuya / Biol Pharm Bull (1999) 22: 1083-8.
Antioxidant and Toxicity Studies of 50% Methanolic Extract of Orthosiphon stamineus Benth / Mun Fei Yam, Chung Pin Lim, Lee Fung Ang, Lip Yee Por, Siew Tung Wong, Mohd. Zaini Asmawi, Rusliza Basir, and Mariam Ahmad / BioMed Research International, Volume 2013 (2013) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/351602
Orthosiphon aristatus / Synonyms / The Plant List
A Review of the Medicinal Plants of Genus Orthosiphon (Lamiaceae) / Mukesh K. Singh, Bina Gidwani, Anshita Gupta, Hemant Dhongade, Chanchal Deep Kaur, Pranita P. Kashyap and D.K. Tripathi / International Journal of Biological Chemistry 9 (6): 318-331, 2015 ISSN 1819-155X / DOI: 10.3923/ijbc.2015.318.331
Java Tea Interactions / WebMD
Nephroprotective activity of Ethanolic Extract of Orthosiphon stamineus Leaves on Ethylene Glycol induced Urolithiasis in Albino Rats / K. Ramesh, S Manohar and S. Rajeshkumar* / International Journal of PharmTech Research, Vol.6, No.1, pp 403-408, Jan-March 2014
Antioxidant and Hepatoprotective Effects of Orthosiphon stamineus Benth / Mun Fei Yam et al, Am. J. Chin. Med. 35, 115 (2007). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0192415X07004679
Internaction Study: The Effect of Orthosiphon stamineus Extract of Human Cytochrome P450 / Purwantiningsih, Abas Hj Hussin / Indonesian Journal of Pharmacy, Vol 25, No 4, 2015
α-GLUCOSIDASE INHIBITORS FROM JAVA TEA Orthosiphon aristatus (Blume) Miq. / Doungkamon Toumsuk, Preecha Phuwapraisirisan* / IBSC

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