Miana is scientifically known in Latin as Plectranthus scutellarioides (L.) R. Br.. Another name for the scientific name Plectranthus scutellarioides is Coleus blumei Benth. Internationally, this plant is popular with the names coleus, common coleus, painted nettle, painted-leaf plant or variegated coleus.
In Indonesia, this plant has many other names. Among them are sigresing in North Sumatra or the Batak tribe area, adong - adong in Palembang, jawek kotok in West Java or the Sunda region, iler or wiyono in Central Java, ati - ati in Makasar or the Bugis tribe region, bulunangko in the Toraja and Serewung tribe areas. in the Minahasa region (Wjayakusuma, 2004). In Malaysia, this plant is known as kentongan, dapoyana in the Philippines, wu cai su in China and niwajiku in Japan (Marianne Jennifer Datiles, 2022).
The genus name comes from the Greek for 'plectron' which means 'spur' and 'anthos' which means 'flower' (Marianne Jennifer Datiles, 2022). This name refers to the spur-shaped flowers. Meanwhile, the species name scutellarioides means small dish or sauce, referring to the persistent shape of the petals after the flowers fade (NParks | Coleus Scutellarioides, 2022).
Coleus comes from the Southeast Asia region which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines as well as the northern region of Australia. Now the miana plant has been widely cultivated in tropical countries and in all parts of China until its presence has been declared invasive in several areas.
The coleus species or Plectranthus scutellarioides was first introduced to Europe from the island of Java in 1851 by a Dutch horticulturist. At that time there were only a few variations in color and shape until in 1877 the number of variations increased when William Bull from America began selling seeds from this plant. Its popularity was revived in the early 1940s and by the 1980s the availability of improved cultivars had made the plant the tenth most important vegetation plant in the United States (Nguyen, 2007).
Description of Form and Growth
Coleus is a dense herbaceous plant with a height that can reach approximately 1 meter. The leaves have a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors which are usually bright with spots in the middle. The shape of the leaves is generally a deltoid round egg or a wide round egg.
The flowers are whitish blue in upright spikes that grow at the top of the plant. The fruit is brown in with a single-seeded achene-like nut shape with a very small size.
Coleus can be propagated by stem cuttings or seeds. It is able to produce its own seeds through fallen nuts.
Uses and Benefits of Coleus for Health
Since ancient times, coleus has been widely used as an ingredient for making traditional herbal medicine in Indonesia to cure various diseases. The purplish brown leaves contain alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, tannins, essential oils, and quercetin which have been proven to have anti-inflammatory activity (Moektiwardoyo et al., 2011). In various traditional medicines in Indonesia, coleus is believed to be efficacious as a medicine for boils and bruises (Surahmaida Surahmaida & Umarudin Umarudin, 2019).
Other sources state that coleus has been used by the Mazatec Indians in southern Mexico for its hallucinogenic effects (Plectranthus Scutellarioides, 2022) and has been classified as a hallucinogenic narcotic. Apart from that, this plant is also considered magical and has been used in divination rituals (Marianne Jennifer Datiles, 2022).
There are other uses for coleus, especially on the island of Java, namely as a living fence on coffee plantations (Marianne Jennifer Datiles, 2022).