Scientific name: Coleus forskohlii

Common names: Coleus, Mainmul, Painted nettle, painted leaf, Poor Man’s croton

Ayurvedic names: Makandi 

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names: 

Arabic names:    القوليوس (al qolius)

Rain Forest names:

Other names: Makandi (Sanskrit)

Family: Lamiaceae (Minit?)

Approximate number of species known: 150

Common parts used: Leaf, root


Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 8-24 inches tall

Actions: The main action behind the effects of forskolin is the activation of an important enzyme that raises levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate, (cAMP). CAMP is a very important cell-regulating compound which acts as a ‘second messenger’ altering a variety of membrane transport proteins and thereby activating many other enzymes involved in a whole range of cellular functions including hormone activation. 

Known Constituents: Forskolin

Chief alkaloid found is Forskohlii. Many other diterpenoids as deacetyl forskolin, 9-deoxyforskolin, 1, 9-deoxyforskolin,1, 9-dideoxy- 7-deacetylforskolin have been isolated. Other minor phytochemicals are allylroyleanone, barbatusin, plectrin, plectirinon A, acetoxycoleosol, coleol, coleonone, coleosol, deoxycoleonol, crocetin dialehyde, napthopyrones. 

Constituents Explained:


Native to India, Thailand Africa, Asia, Australia, the Eadt Indies, Malay Asrchipelago and the Philippines.

Native to India, it’s to grow in areas of high sun and poor conditions.

It tends to attract bees, and often is used to grow near tomatoes, squash and strawberries.

It has fleshy roots

Traditional Use:

Used in India as an addition to cooking.  It has been used high blood pressure, asthma and as a strong muscle relaxant.  It is believed that it opens up the blood vessels and partly relax the arteries that lead to the heart, which may make it beneficial in some heart conditions.  Like most medications for the heart, caution is advised if choosing to use Coleous for purposes pertaining to the heart.

It has been used for glaucoma by applying it locally to the eye.

Further it’s use has extended to relieving heart and cardiovascular problems problems,  stomach cramps, lowering cholesterol levels, to speed up the thyroid and the skin.

Clinical Studies:

Hypertension is the most common psychosomatic disorder affecting 972 million people worldwide. The present clinical study deals with the effect of Makandi (Coleus forskohlii (Willd.) Briq.) Ghana vati and tablets of its powder in hypertension found in the geriatric age group (50-80 years).

A total of 49 hypertensive patients fulfilling the diagnostic criteria were registered in two groups-Group I (Ghana vati) and Group II (Churna tablet). Out of 27 enrolled patients of group I, 21 patients completed the treatment. In Group II, out of 22 registered patients, a total of 20 patients completed the treatment.

The effect of the therapy was assessed on the basis of changes in the systolic and diastolic blood pressures, in both sitting and supine positions; with Manasa Bhava Pariksha, Manasa Vibhrama Pariksha, symptomatology, geriatric signs and symptoms, and a brief psychiatric rating scale.

Analysis of the results showed that the treatment in both the groups had been found to be good. It can be stated that Makandi, either in Ghana vati form or in churna tablet form, is an effective remedy for the treatment of hypertension. 

On analyzing the overall effect, 76.19% patients in Group I and 75.00% patients in Group II were mildly improved. Comparatively the overall treatment with group I was found to be better.

Another study investigated the effects of Coleus Forskohlii (CF) on body composition, and determined the safety and efficacy of supplementation.

In a double blind and randomized manner, 23 females supplemented their diet with ForsLeantrade mark (250 mg of 10% CF extract, or a placebo two times per day for 12-wks. Body composition (DEXA), body weight, and psychometric instruments were obtained at 0, 4, 8 & 12 weeks of supplementation. 

Body composition (DEXA), body weight, and psychometric instruments were obtained at 0, 4, 8 & 12 weeks of supplementation. Side effects were recorded on a weekly basis. Data were analyzed by repeated measures ANOVA and are presented as mean changes from baseline for the CF and placebo groups, respectively.

No significant differences were observed in caloric or macronutrient intake. CF tended to mitigate gains in body mass and scanned mass with no significant differences in fat mass, , fat free mass, or body fat. 

Subjects in the CF group tended to report less fatigue, hunger, and fullness. No clinically significant interactions were seen in metabolic markers, blood lipids, muscle and liver enzymes, electrolytes, red cells, white cells, hormones, heart rate, blood pressure, or weekly reports of side effects.

Results suggest that CF does not appear to promote weight loss but may help mitigate weight gain in overweight females with apparently no clinically significant side effects.


Jaqtap M, Chandola HM, Ravishankar B. “Clinical Efficacy Of Coleus Forskohlii (Willd.) Briq. (Makandi) In Hypertension Of Geriatric Hypertension.”  2011 January.

Henderson S, Magu B, Rasmussen C, Lancaster S, Kerksick C, Smith P, Melton C, Cowan P, Greenwood M, Earnest C, Almada A, Milor P, Magrans T, Bowden R, Ounpraseuth S, Thomas A, Kreider RB. “Effects Of Coleus Forskohlii Supplementatio On Body Composition And Hematological Profiles In Mildly Overweight Women.” 2005 December