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Platostoma palustre


Platostoma palustre (Blume) A.J.Paton

Family Name: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Synonyms: Mesona procumbens Hemsl., Mesona chinensis Benth.
Common Name: Chin Chow, Cincau, Hsian-tsao, 仙草, 涼粉草


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 15 cm to 100 cm


Native Distribution India, Myanmar, Indochina
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial herb with trailing stems that are 15-100 cm long.
Foliage Leaves are narrowly ovate (egg-shaped) to almost circular (2-5 cm long, 0.8-2.8 cm wide).
Stems The stems may be hairless, pilose (covered in soft hairs) or finely bristly (covered in short, stiff hairs).
Flowers White, reddish or light blue to purplish flowers (3 mm long) are arranged in verticillasters (a whorl-like inflorescence where flowers appear to surround the stem). The verticillasters are arranged in branched clusters known as panicles. The panicles are either erect or pointed upwards at an oblique angle.
Fruits Black, elongated fruits are known as nutlets.
Cultivation Chin Chow requires moist, but well-drained soil, and it is sensitive to drought.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb and Spice : Leaves has been used to make jelly desserts and beverages by the Chinese for centuries. In Singapore, the dried leaves and shoots are sold in Chinese medical halls. Grass Jelly, a popular local dessert, is prepared by boiling the dried shoots in water with sugar and agar and allowing the strained liquid to set. Grass Jelly or Cincau Tea is thought to have a cooling effect on the body.  )
Medicinal (

Scientific Evidence of Medicinal Properties

In pre-clinical trials, Chin Chow showed anti-inflammation (Dewanti et al., 2018), antioxidant (Yen et al., 2004) and cholesterol-lowering properties (Handayani et al., 2017) in animals.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

Research supports the Chinese traditional use of Chin Chow to treat joint pain. Other Chinese traditional uses include treating liver disease, hypertension and diabetes.

It is important to note that some therapeutic effects from traditional medicinal uses of plants are not currently supported or verified by scientific research. 




Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils
Landscape Uses Groundcover

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting (Tip, Herbaceous)


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Velvety / Furry / Tomentose, Spiny / Bristly / Stinging
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Orbicular / Round)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Obtuse
Foliar Base Cuneate, Rounded / Obtuse

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Purple, Red, White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Individual Flower Shape Labiate / Lipped
Flower Size - Length 3 mm
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Inflorescence Type Remarks Verticillasters arranged in panicles.

Image Repository



Master ID 30545
Species ID 4854
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 02 October 2022.