Thumpa (Leucas aspera, Dronapushpi, Gumma Bhaji, Karukansoli, pansi-pansi, paysi-paysi, sipsipan, sula-sulasihan) is part of my childhood memories in
Thumpa used to grow wild all over the place. Even children knew it had medicinal value. The most common usage was in case of any skin problems. If you touch a poisonous weed or plant and there are itching and/or skin eruptions, take a few thumpa leaves, crush them in your hand and apply to the affected part. The relief is almost immediate.
The medicinal properties of Leucas aspera are accepted in all the areas where the 100 species of the plant grows (Indian Subcontinent,
In some countries, Leucas aspera is used as a fragrant herb in cooking. It is also a natural insecticide. In Kerala, the plant is burnt to ward off mosquitoes.
What used to grow wild in our area and many parts of Kerala started disappearing about four decades back. We found that the use of chemical manure and pesticides was the cause. About twenty five years back we shifted back to organic farming. The thumpa plants returned to the scene as you can see in the photographs I took in Olavipe.
Leucas aspera can also be cultivated commercially. Seeds can be ordered online. Dry, sandy soil and full sunlight are required. The suggested planting distance is 12 to 15 inches apart. You could also have a few clusters of Leucas aspera in your garden, either on the ground or in pots.
These are great plants to have in the vicinity residential houses.