MEDICINALLY IMPORTANT COLEUS SPECIES, COLEUS MALABARICUS BENTH. AND MANY OTHERS OF FAMILY LAMIACEAE FROM THE WESTERN GHATS, INDIA – A REVIEWAbstract
India is renowned for its rich biodiversity and the Western Ghats, because of its varied topography and ecological conditions support a very rich flora including medicinally valuable aromatic and non-aromatic plant species. The Western Ghats are additionally documented for diversity within the ethnic communities; they have been utilizing the plant wealth for medicinal purposes and have proven successful for generations. Coleus, one of the largest genus of the family Lamiaceae, is well known for its aromatic medicinal plants of ethnomedicinal importance. Among the different species within the genus, Coleus amboinicus and Coleus barbatus are the most documented species with a wide variety of traditional medicinal uses in ayurvedic as well as folklore medicine. Even though the plants such as Coleus malabaricus, Coleus mollis, Coleus urticifolius, Coleus fruticosus, Coleus bishopianus, Coleus paniculatus and Coleus caninus of the Western ghats reported to possess enormous ethnomedicinal uses, very little is known regarding the chemical constituents and biological activities of these species. Numerous new species have additionally been recognized from this area. This article provides a comprehensive look at these species and presents it in a concise manner for the researchers with the aim of future bioprospecting of these potential medicinal plants. The article is also emphasizing the importance of the conservation of potential medicinal plants of the Western Ghats and the need of multiplication of these species including endangered and endemic species through the application of modern biotechnological tools.