Thumbe or Leucas Aspera: Exploring the Nutritional Benefits and Culinary Wonders

Other Common Name for Leucas are Thumba / Common Leucas. Thumbai Keerai in Tamil, Chota Halkusa Gopha in Hindi and Malayalam it is known as Chiruthumba


Leucas aspera, also known by various names such as Thumbai, Thumba, Chhota halkusa, and Pansi-pansi, is a plant species belonging to the genus Leucas and the family Lamiaceae. This annual, branched herb is commonly found in grasslands and is native to Mauritius, as well as tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. Its distribution extends from the Himalayas to Ceylon in India.

In Hindi, it is referred to as “Goma” or “Madhupati,” and in Sanskrit, it goes by the name “Dronapushpi.” This plant holds special significance in Hindu culture, where it is considered the favorite flower of the god Shiva. It is renowned for its traditional use in treating venomous snake and insect bites.

Furthermore, Leucas aspera has demonstrated various pharmacological activities, including antifungal, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antinociceptive (pain-relieving), and cytotoxic (cell-damaging) properties. These attributes make it a valuable and multifaceted plant, both in traditional medicine and in contemporary research for its potential medicinal applications.



Leucas aspera, commonly known as Thumbe, is a plant with various nutritional components and bioactive compounds. While specific nutrient values may vary, here’s a general overview of some of the nutritional and bioactive compounds found in this plant:

Nutritional Components:

Carbohydrates: Thumbe contains carbohydrates, providing a source of energy when consumed.

Protein: The plant contains protein, contributing to its nutritional value.

Fat: While not a significant source of fat, it may contain some trace amounts.

Iron: Iron is an essential mineral, and Thumbe may provide small amounts of this nutrient.

Calcium: Calcium is important for bone health and other bodily functions, and this plant may contain varying levels of calcium.

Bioactive Compounds:

Triterpenoids: Leucas aspera contains triterpenoids, which are known for their potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Phenolic Compounds: Phenolic compounds are antioxidants that can help protect cells from oxidative stress.

Flavonoids: Flavonoids are a type of polyphenol that may have various health-promoting properties.

Glycosides: Glycosides are organic compounds that can have therapeutic effects and are often found in medicinal plants.

Oleanolic Acid: Oleanolic acid is a naturally occurring pentacyclic triterpenoid with potential health benefits.

Ursolic Acid: Ursolic acid is another triterpenoid known for its medicinal properties.

β-Sitosterol: β-Sitosterol is a plant sterol that may have cholesterol-lowering properties and other health benefits.

Nicotine: Nicotine is a chemical compound found in small amounts in some plants, but its presence in Leucas aspera may be limited and not typically a primary reason for its consumption.

Sterols: Sterols are natural compounds that have structural and functional roles in plants.

Glucoside: Glucosides are sugar compounds often found in various plants and can have medicinal properties.

Diterpenes: Diterpenes are a class of chemical compounds found in some plants and may have pharmacological significance.

Thumbe is used in traditional medicine for its potential therapeutic properties. Additionally, its leaves and flower buds are consumed as a vegetable in certain regions. While this plant is valued for its traditional uses, it’s important to recognize that its nutritional and bioactive components can vary depending on factors such as plant growth conditions, location, and preparation methods. If considering the use of Leucas aspera for medicinal or dietary purposes, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or herbalist for guidance on its safe and appropriate use.


Thumbe, also known as Thumbai, offers several potential benefits due to its nutritional and bioactive components, although it’s important to note that scientific research is ongoing, and some of these benefits are based on traditional uses. Here are some of the potential benefits associated with Leucas aspera:

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: The triterpenoids and phenolic compounds in thumbe may possess anti-inflammatory properties, making it potentially useful for managing inflammatory conditions.

Antioxidant Effects: Phenolic compounds and flavonoids in the plant act as antioxidants, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which can contribute to overall health and well-being.

Pain Relief (Antinociceptive): Some traditional uses of Leucas aspera or thumbe include pain relief, and it may have antinociceptive properties, which can help alleviate pain or discomfort.

Digestive Health: In traditional medicine, Thumbe has been used to promote digestive health and alleviate gastrointestinal issues.

Cytotoxic Activity: Some studies suggest that the plant may have cytotoxic properties, which could be explored for potential use in cancer research.

Possible Cholesterol Regulation: β-Sitosterol, a compound found in thumbe, has been associated with potential cholesterol-lowering effects.

Traditional Medicine: Thumbe/Leucas aspera is used in traditional medicine systems in various regions for treating a range of ailments, from snake bites to skin conditions.

Nutritional Value: The plant contains essential nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, and small amounts of iron and calcium, contributing to its nutritional value when consumed as a vegetable.

Potential Skin Benefits: Some bioactive compounds in Leucas aspera/ thumbe may have applications in skincare products due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

It’s important to note that while these potential benefits are promising, further research is needed to establish their efficacy and safety. If you are considering using Leucas aspera for specific health purposes, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or herbalist for guidance on its safe and appropriate use. Additionally, traditional uses should be approached with caution and in consultation with experts, as the safety and effectiveness of these remedies may vary. 

thumbai keerai



1 bunch of thumbai or thumbe keerai (Indian jujube leaves), leaves and stems separated
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Salt to taste


Begin by thoroughly washing the thumbe keerai leaves and stems. Chop both into small pieces.
Heat one tablespoon of cooking oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they become soft and translucent.
Incorporate the chopped tomatoes and cook until they turn into a mushy consistency.
To the pan, add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder (adjust based on your spice preference), and garam masala powder. Stir well to combine these spices with the onions and tomatoes.
Introduce the chopped thumbai keerai leaves and stems to the mixture and cook until they wilt.
Season the dish with salt to your taste and mix thoroughly. Mixing should be like liquid paste.
Your Thumbe Keerai Kadaiyal is now ready to be served. I love it with rice.

Tips: If you desire additional vegetables, consider adding ingredients like carrots, potatoes, or beans for added variety and nutrition.
Adjust the red chili powder to suit your preferred level of spiciness.
For a creamier texture and a slightly tangy flavor, you can top the dish with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream before serving. Enjoy your flavorful and nutritious Thumbai Keerai Kadaiyal!

You Can also make beautiful SALADS with it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top