Coleus and Its Significance in Alternative Healing


A fungus is a microorganism that usually thrives in a warm and moist environment. This is a common problem that may occur in people of any age, but it is more prevalent among men who are older than 60. Toenail fungus often starts as a skin infection known as tinea pedis or more commonly called athlete’s foot. The fungus often begins either under the nail or at the end of it. Over time, the fungus may grow underneath the nail. This also usually causes changes to the nail’s appearance like nail discoloration. This may also cause the nail to thicken and become deformed.

The Common Causes

Toenail fungal infections are often caused by a fungal strain known as dermatophytes. This may also be triggered by the presence of yeast or mold infections. The fungus usually invades the skin through cuts or nail breakages that make the nail bed exposed to the fungus. Several high-risk factors can increase the possibility of becoming infected. These include constant exposure to moist and warm environments, having a weakened immune system, and sharing personal items like nail clippers.

Toenails are more likely to get infected with fungus compared to fingernails. This is because of the conducive environment inside one’s shoes and the restricted blood circulation as well.

Treatment Options

Several nail fungus treatment options are available for getting rid of the infection. Topical antifungals such as creams and ointments can be applied directly to the infected nails. Oral antifungals are more effective than topical ones, but just like topical medications, the recurrence rate is still high. The doctor may sometimes recommend a combination of topical and oral infections for better effects. For stubborn cases where the fungus becomes resistant to treatment, the doctor may recommend a nail removal, which will allow a new and uninfected nail to grow. Another new form of nail fungal treatment is laser treatment.

1All about Coleus

Coleus (scientific name Coleus Blumei) is a genus of perennial plants that are native to Africa, Australia, Asia, as well as the Pacific Islands. This genus is composed of around 150 species that belong to the mint family known as Lamiaceae, which is closely related to thyme, basil, peppermint, spearmint, salvia, and oregano. This is an annual herb that is branched and erect. The foliage of this herb is superbly unique, and it has a wide array of color combinations that are unmatched by any species of plant. Coleus emits an aroma that is the same as camphor and it is also extremely fragrant because of the large number of essential oils found in the plant. Not like most of the plants in the mint family, coleus fibrous roots are intended for medicinal purposes.

Coleus has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 3,000 years already. In ancient Sanskrit texts, this is known as Makandi. It is believed to have been used for supporting the healthy functions of the heart and lungs as well as other parts of the body.

Coleus is called by many other names such as Flame Nettle, Painted Leaf, Ahijado, Painted Nettle, Malaina, Indian Coleus, Abyssinian Coleus, Kaffir Potatoe, Marundhu Koorkan, Kikuyu Toilet Paper, and False Boldo.

Chemical Components

Coleus contains Forskolin which is one of its predominant active chemicals. Forskolin is known for more than 35 biological activities. One of the most medically interesting, researched, and potentially helpful in promoting healthy body cells through the enzyme known as Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP).

As an Antifungal and Antimicrobial

The antifungal activities of different coleus species have been investigated against several pathogenic fungi such as Aspergillus fumigatus, Proteus vulgaris, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus ruantii, and Candida albicans. The petroleum ether extract of coleus showed antifungal effects on all selected organisms.

Another study evaluated the antifungal activities of methanol, water, and absolute methanol extracts of coleus. The tested microorganisms were Aspergillus, Mucor, Rodotorula, Trichophyton, Epidermophyton, Microsporum, Basidiobolus, Geotricum, Rhizopus, Epidermophyton, and Candida. All the tested fungal strains were susceptible to the extracts.

Other Health Benefits

Coleus has other known health benefits apart from those already mentioned. The following are some of them:

Treats hypertension

Based on a recent study, the powerful compound found in coleus known as forskolin contains muscle relaxant properties. It also has the ability to dilate blood vessels, hence making it possible for blood pressure to be reduced. When the blood vessels are dilated, the heart works less in pumping blood all over the body. Coleus may also offer health benefits to patients who have cardiomyopathy.

Treats Asthma and Allergic Reactions

Coleus can stabilize body cells that are tasked to release histamines which often trigger allergies. It also relaxes the muscle tissues. This is why it is important in treating allergic respiratory conditions like asthma.

Treats Psoriasis

The exact cause of psoriasis is not really known; however, scientists surmise that one of the many causes could be a weakened immune system. Due to the ability of coleus to improve the body’s immune system, coleus is among the different remedies that are prescribed for the condition.

Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

This is a disorder that occurs in the intestines. This has symptoms like cramps, irregular bowel movements, abdominal pains, and bloating. Coleus offers relief for this condition by treating the inflammation of the intestines. This helps in the digestive process, providing relief for IBS.

Helps with Weight Loss

Limited studies revealed that coleus could help in managing weight. The most referenced studies were those done in 2005 and 2007 that exhibit the effects of coleus on weight loss. Another more recent study showed that forskolin could promote weight loss in men who are obese. However, more research is required.

Has Potential as an HIV Cure

A published study in the 2009 issue of Natural Product Communication showed that extracts from the aerial parts of coleus (Labiatae) were evaluated and prepared at a noncytotoxic concentration for their effects against HIV-1 NL4-3. The study revealed four dipertenes namely dideoxyforskolin, deoxyforskolin, isoforskolin, and forskolin have inhibitory activities against this virus.

Treats Glaucoma

The sterile fluid extract of forskolin has been established to reduce intraocular pressure. This has been proven beneficial in the treatment of glaucoma.

Before you start supplementing with coleus, it is important to consult first with your physician.

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