Coleus forskohlii is a perennial, branched, aromatic herb, and grows to about 45 - 60 cm (1 -2 ft high) tall, with a thick root stalk. It has four angled stems that are branched and nodes are often hairy.
The root is typically golden brown, thick, fibrous and radially spreading. Roots are tuberous, fasciculate, 20 cm long and 0.5 to 2.5 cm in diameter, conical fusiform, straight, orangish within.
C. forskohlii is the only species of the genus to have fasciculate tuberous roots. The entire plant is aromatic.
Coleus forskohlii has been used since ancient times in traditional medicine. The root portion of the plant has been used for medicinal purposes and contains the active constituent, Forskolin2. Forskolin a diterpenoid was named after the Finnish botanist, Forskel.
Coleus forskohlii is cultivated for use as a condiment and the tender tubers are prepared as pickle and eaten. This species is considered to be the wild ancestor of all the tuber varieties, known as Kaffir Potatoes4.
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