Cat Whiskers Facts

Cat’s Whiskers is botanically known as Orthosiphon aristatus and it belongs to the mint family.The genus name Orthosiphon comes from the Greek and means “upright tube.” This family is characterized by a square stem, volatile oils and decussate leaf arrangements; i.e. opposite pairs of leaves with each pair offset by 90 degrees to the previous pair. The plant owes its name to the four strikingly long stamens, which stick out, as long as a pen, looking like a cat’s whiskers sticking out from the white to pale purple flowers lip. The flowers are in spike-like flowery whorls, which is expressed by the epithet: Lat “aristatus” (= with ears). Only the leaves are edible and are widely used for herbal teas ( Java Tea ) in south-east Asia. Other plant parts are toxic! The flowers make an eye-catching display in gardens.

Name Cat’s Whiskers
Scientific Name Orthosiphon aristatus
Native Africa, South East Asia and Australasia.
Common/English Name Kidney plant, Indian kidney tea, Java tea, Kabling-parang, Mao xu cao, pokok misai kucing, Yaa-nuat-maeo, Kidney Tea, Kumis Kucing, Kumis Kutjing and Kitty Whiskers
Name in Other Languages Indonesia: Kumis kucing
Malaysia: Misai kucing
U.S: Cat’s whiskers or Java tea
Chinese: Mao xu cao, shen cha
Filipino: Kabling-gubat, balbas-pusa, kabling-parang
Thai: Yaa-nuat-maeo
English: Cat’s whiskers, kidney tea, java tea, whiskerplant
Sanskrit: Arjaka, Marjarasmasru
Hindi: Mutri tulsi
Malayalam: Poocha meesha-പൂച്ചമീശ, Poochatulasi-പൂച്ച തുളസി
Fijian: Kumi ni pusi
French: Thé de Java
Malayan: Pokok misai kucing
Palauan: Emadecharebub
Pohnpeian: Alisen-kaht, elisiniket
Samoan: ‘Ava pusi, ‘ava pusi
Tongan: Kava ‘i pusi
Swedish: Morrhårsmynta 
Plant Growth Habit Small herbaceous perennial shrub
Growing Climate Grow well in full sun in mild climates.
Soil Prefers well-drained soil high in organic content that can hold moisture, neutral to slightly alkaline pH.
Plant Size About 1-2 meter high
Stem Purple, four-sided stems that are coarsely toothed
Leaf Dark green leaves are 5-10cm long, slightly glossy, narrowly ovate and deeply veined. They are held in pairs, end in points at each end and have coarsely toothed margins.
Flower Flowers range from white through to light mauve or pink with the slender tube shaped corolla being 2.5 cm. It is almost 3 times the size of the bell shaped calyces. The ‘whiskers’ or stamens extend outwards up to twice as long as the flower itself, giving the impression of cat’s whiskers. Cat’s Whiskers flowers from late summer to autumn
Flowering Season April to May
Varieties
  • Orthosiphon aristatus var. aristatus – most of species range
  • Orthosiphon aristatus var. velteri Suddee & A.J.Paton – Vietnam
Health Benefits
  • Helps in Respiratory Problems
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Treats Short Breath and Nerve Related Problems
  • Anti-Fungal
  • Diuretic Action
  • Heals Bladder Problems
  • Kidney Disorders
  • Acts as a Detox
  • Regulates Blood Sugar
  • Weight Loss
  • Treats Gum Problems
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Treats Skin Disorders
  • Treats and Heals Gout