Cuban Oregano

treethousandOctober 14, 2008

I recently got a cutting of some cuban oregano, and its growing like crazy! the only problem is the pot it is in needs more soil, the pot is only about half full. is it bad to put soil on top, covering up some of the stem? and would it be bad to disrupt the roots, the plant is starting to get big.

also, anyone know of any good ideas to use this in food? thanks!

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I know it best by the name Mother of Herbs (Plectranthus amboinicus, or Coleus amboinicus). It is not related in any way to Oregano, Cuban or otherwise!

This plant is a groundcover, so you can expect it to have a vigorous root system - any pot you have for it should be LARGE. It won't hurt your plant to be completely repotted, which I recommend. You can top up the level of the soil to cover the stem of this plant, but you'll only encourage it to form even more roots (hence more plant) so it won't solve your problem.

As for using it - well - it's the herb you use when you don't know what herb to use! Perfect in Mediterranean-style dishes, or anywhere you'd normally use oregano.

Do a search here for it - there have been several threads on the subject.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 5:34AM
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orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

using it in food?
I've heard of a few brave souls that have done it but it makes things taste horrible
its named mostly because it has a fragrance
one of the problems of common names
all i can say is, everyone has different tastes, try it and see if you like it

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 5:32PM
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The fresh leaves are used to season fish and cabrito (young goat) in the islands. They are sometimes chopped in chile pastes (something like Jerk Seasoning, but without the strong Onion and Ginger presence). The leaves are the primary seasoning in the Cuban black bean soup, Frijoles Negros. A kind of salsa, made by mincing the leaves together with various unripe fruits, can be made with it thatis served as an accompaniment to rice.

In Java and Malaysia, it is used in curries -- especially with goat or strong-smelling fish.
The leaves are sometimes used to flavor beers and wines in India. They have been brewed as herbal tea, and been cooked as potherbs.

Roots and young plants (Coleus amboinicus) eaten in South America. The fragrant leaves are eaten as potherbs in India

The roots of Coleus barbatus are pickled in India.

This powerful smelling herb seems to contain large amounts of Thymol, which would account for some of its misleading common names."


Spanish Thyme or Cuban Oregano is an unusual, fleshy leafed plant used as a culinary seasoning in the Caribbean. The brittle stems and colorful foliage resemble the common Coleus. Growth is slow in the winter months and moderate in spring and summer. Heat and direct sun don't seem to adversely affect growth or appearance. Insignificant flower stems form in the fall. It is extremely tender so grow in a protected area or keep it mobile in a container so it can be placed in a controlled environment in the winter.

Also known as Indian Borage; Daun Bangun-Banun, Pok-Hor, Po-Ho.
The leaves emit a very strong aroma when handled.
A succulent perennial herb that can reach 50 cm in height with fleshy leaves in opposite pairs. It occasionally produces pale violet flowers.

A plant cultivated and running wild in Malaysia. It is probably a native of India.

Uses Leaves are mainly used in stuffing and for flavoring meat, also as a substitute for sage. Its strong smelling aromatic leaves are used medicinally by Indians as a cure for coughs.

Like rosemary, Cuban oregano has a penetrating scent that fills the garden after a rain or when you brush past it. Its aroma and flavor are somewhere between oregano and sage with notes of turpentine, and it can be used interchangeably with those herbs in numerous savory dishes.

Cuban oregano shares the sprawling habit of its relative the garden coleus, and pinching a few sprigs to use in cooking only improve its appearance, as the plant sends out new shoots and fills out more compactly.

Though commonly known to U.S. gardeners as Cuban oregano, this aromatic plant is neither a Cuban native nor a true oregano. A Southeast Asian plant (Plectranthus amboinicus), a member of the Lamiacea or mint family, it made its way to the Latin America in colonial times.

In Cuba, gardeners know it as oregano de la tierra, oreganon or French oregano (oregano frances), which points to Haiti, a former French colony, as a possible point of entry. Its used for seasoning black beans and stews with it. Its also used as a medicinal plant used to make hot tisanes (teas) and fried in oil to treat bronchitis, severe colds and digestive problems.

The tender shoots make lovely garnishes for salads and drinks. After two or three days of steeping, it turns white distilled vinegar into a wonderfully aromatic vinegar that are great on avocado and fresh tomato salads.

You can whirl highly fragrant, mature leaves with grassy, green-tasting olive oil in a blender or food processor and strain it well to make a terrific infused oil that you can drizzle over oven-roasted red snapper.

The subtle herbal bitterness of the leaves is partially tamed by simmering them in a simple syrup, and gives a mysterious kick to cocktails and summer drinks like white wine sangria.

Its a good tasting herb when used properly but it is very strong in taste and smell so a little goes a long way. younger leafs are less strong..

All this info is info I got from different sources on the web that I had saved to my computer since ive been looking for a plant of my own to have and use in cooking..
Also been looking for Cuban Garlic and Cuban laurel.

I dont know if you can cook with the laurel one but I know the other 2 you can. However keep in mind to make sure it is what you think it is otherwise you could get sick or worse if ingested. Especially since the Cuban Oregano can look just like a Coleus (In fact its in that family)

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 6:32PM
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