Tuesday, November 10, 2009

cat's whiskers (misai kuching)

when my friend told me that the cat's whiskers plant was very easy to propagate, i had my doubts because i had tried it once and it did not prove successful. anyway, each of us cut a stem and took it home to soak in water. we were told to leave it in the water till tiny roots appeared before planting it in a pot. last week, i checked with the other two friends and both assured me that their plants were growing very well. only the doubting thomas' plant did not make it. to cut a long story short, i finally managed to grow one in a pot ( picture above).

many people in this region, especially in malaysia and indonesia believe that taking the 'java tea', made by boiling the leaves of this plant, has a cleansing effect on the body. i have been taking the light golden tea, on and off for sometime, but i have yet to realise its effect.

with a tradition of use in thailand, malaysia and indonesia for several centuries, we can learn how to use one of our beautiful native plants. cat's whiskers is an esteemed tea for kidney diseases, disorders causing wasting disease, dysuria, and for the treatment of kidney and urinary stones or discharge.

recent research in south east asia with trials over 1-6 months, showed that patients taking it as a tea made with 4g dried leaf to 750 ml of boiling water, released urinary stones 0.5cm in size for 40% of the patients, and another 20% of the patients found that all pain was gone after the treatment.

leaves can be used fresh, or dried as an infusion or decoction. the crushed, dried leaves may be encapsulated; the active ingredient retaining its properties for several years when stored in cool, dry conditions. the herb is also used for gallstones. use 15-20 fresh leaves, a 'finger knob' of fresh turmeric, 7 cloves of garlic, and 1 litre of water, simmer 10- 15 minutes, strain. half the decoction is drunk in the morning and half in the afternoon.

for rheumatic pains and coughs, a cup of tea is made with 15-20 leaves, drinking 1-2 cups a day.

i photographed this at car park b of the dairy farm nature park. cat's whiskers come in two colours - white and purple. but the purple flowers that you see in the above picture do not belong to the cat's whiskers.


nah said...

The success rate of propagation by stem cuttings is 50-50, but stem cuttings of this plant are easy to root. Some people like to dip the ends of cuttings into a “rooting powder”, as its growth promoting elements give the cuttings a better start.
A few companies in Malaysia are selling boxes of dried “Cat’s Whiskers” leaves in teabags – 1 box contains about 20 to 30 teabags and the prices range from RM18 to RM40.
Yg, it is good for a healthy person like you, to drink this tea regularly for health maintenance.

yg said...

nah, it seems pruning will encourage the growth of leaves.

Anonymous said...

did u have your fren contact that grow or any idea where could I find or buy this cat whisker plant?

Please call me at 91715444

Singapore plants lover said...

The flowers of this plant are very cute too.