Elsholtzia ciliata

Elsholtzia ciliata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Elsholtzia
Species: E. ciliata
Binomial name
Elsholtzia ciliata
(Thunb.) Hyl.

Elsholtzia cristata, Willd.
Elsholtzia patrinii, Kuntze
Sideritis ciliata, Thunb.

Elsholtzia ciliata, commonly known as Vietnamese Balm or kinh giới in Vietnamese, is a plant native to Asia.


The plant is native to Asia. However, the exact extent of its original range is unclear.[1]

Today it is found through much of India, eastern Asia, and Europe. It grows throughout Nepal at elevations of 1500 to 3400 m.


Elsholtzia ciliata is an erect herb that grows to about 60 cm in height. The leaves are long, stalked, and serrated, and reach 2 to 8.5 cm in length and .8 to 2.5 cm in width. In shape they are ovate to lanceolate, with a gland-dotted underside.

Flowers of a purple color bloom in flat spikes in September and October. Seeds propagate within them.


Elsholtzia ciliata has many cultural uses.


It is used in Vietnamese cuisine, where it is called rau kinh giới or lá kinh giới. The seeds are sometimes powdered and used for flavoring food.

Medicinal plant

Elsholtzia ciliata inhibits mast cell-mediated allergic inflammatory reactions.[2] Additionally it is common in herbal medicine, as it is carminative and astringent.[3]


It is cultivated as an ornamental plant. It prefers moist soil, and grows mostly on exposed rocky slopes and other open, gravelly areas.[4]

It was first reported in the Americas as a weed in 1889.


  1. Wiersema, John H; Leon, Blanca (February 26, 1999). World Economic Plants. CRC Press. p. 200. ISBN 0-8493-2119-0.
  2. Kim H.-H., Yoo J.-S., Lee H.-S., Kwon T.K., Shin T.-Y., Kim S.-H.,"Elsholtzia ciliata inhibits mast cell-mediated allergic inflammation: Role of calcium, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and nuclear factor-kB." Experimental Biology and Medicine. 236 (9) (pp 1070-1077), 2011.
  3. Manandhar, Narayan P; Manandhar, Sanjay (April 1, 2002). Plants and People of Nepal. Timber Press. p. 217. ISBN 0-88192-527-6.
  4. Monachino, Joseph (1958). Elsholtzia ciliata in New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. Torrey Botanical Society.

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