Lippia abyssinica

Lippia abyssinica, or koseret (Amharic: ኮሰረት, romanizedkoserēt), is a species of flowering plant in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. It is endemic to Ethiopia but cultivated throughout tropical African countries.[2][3][4] The specific epithet abyssinica derives from Latin and means 'of or from Ethiopia (Abyssinia)'.[5]

Lippia abyssinica.tif
Lippia abyssinica isotype specimen
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Verbenaceae
Genus: Lippia
L. abyssinica
Binomial name
Lippia abyssinica
Herbarium specimen

The plant grows as a 3m tall shrubby herb[6] at 1600-2000m altitude in Ethiopia.[7] It has hairy leaves and small flowers that are purple or pink.[8]

Other common names include kosearut,[9] lemon herb,[10] butter clarifying herb,[11] Gambey tea bush,[12] and Gambia(n) tea bush,[2][3][13] although the latter can also apply to Lippia multiflora.[14] Besides the word koseret, in Amharic it is also called kesse[8] or kessie.[7] In Gurage it can be called koseret (Amharic: ኮሰሬት, romanizedkoserēti), kesenet (Amharic: ክስንት, romanizedkisiniti),[15] or quereret.[8] Said in Tigrinya it is kusay.[8] Kasey,[8] kusaye,[7] or kusaayee[4] are the terms in the Oromo language. In French it is called verveine d’Afrique (literally 'African verbena'),[3][14] Brégué Balenté, or Mousso et mâle.[16] German speakers call it Gambia-Teestrauch (Gambia tea shrub).[14] In Sierra Leone it is named a-kimbo and in the Congo it is called ngadi or dutmutzuri.[12]


Dried koseret herb

Koseret, specifically the subspecies L. a. var. koseret, is dried and used as an herb in Ethiopian cuisine. The smell is camphorous and minty.[16] Some describe its flavor as being similar to basil,[17] but it is not closely related to that herb (they are merely in the same order, Lamiales). Koseret is closely related to the herb Mexican oregano (not to be confused with oregano), sharing the same genus Lippia. It is commonly used in making the spiced oils niter kibbeh[17][18] and ye'qimem zeyet[9] and the spice mix afrinj. Koseret along with the other herbs and spices preserve the butter and oil, preventing spoilage for up to 15 years.[18] In these preparations koseret then flavors many common dishes, such as kitfo.[19] In Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo it is eaten as a potherb.[20][2][3] In west Africa, notably The Gambia, it is brewed into a tisane as a substitute for tea.[2][3][13]

Dried koseret for sale

The plant has also been used as traditional medicine for cough,[12][16][3] fever,[7][16][3] constipation,[12] and cutaneous conditions[12][6] such as burns.[4] It also is used as an insecticide and antimicrobial treatment[12] and shows some promising antibacterial properties.[6] Koseret has some antioxidant activity as well.[18]


  1. ^ a b "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew". Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  2. ^ a b c d Zeven, Anton C.; Zhukovsky, Petr M. (1975). "African Centre". Dictionary of cultivated plants and their centres of diversity: excluding ornamentals, forest trees and lower plants. Wageningen: Pudoc. p. 128. ISBN 978-9022005491. Retrieved 2017-08-03. LIPPIA ADOENSIS Höchst. Gambian tea bush. 2n= . Zaire. A potherb cultivated there. In W. Africa it is used as a tea substitute.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Hanelt, Peter (2001). Mansfeld's Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: (Except Ornamentals) (PDF) (First English ed.). Springer Science & Business Media. p. 1935. ISBN 9783540410171. Retrieved 2017-08-03. Lippia adoensis Hochst. in Flora 24 (1841) 1. Gambian tea bush; Fr. verveine d"Afrique. Tropical Africa. In tropical W Africa cultivated as a substitute for tea, used in folk medicine as a remedy for fever. Also grown as a pot herb in Zaire and Congo.
  4. ^ a b c Megersa, Moa; Asfaw, Zemede; Kelbessa, Ensermu; Beyene, Abebe; Woldeab, Bizuneh (2013-09-25). "An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants in Wayu Tuka District, East Welega Zone of Oromia Regional State, West Ethiopia". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 9 (68): 184–192. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-9-68. ISSN 1746-4269. PMC 3851437. PMID 24295044.
  5. ^ "Searching Botanary". Dave's Garden. Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. 2000–2017. Retrieved 2017-08-02. abyssinica Of or from Ethiopia (Abyssinica) a-biss-IN-ee-kuh
  6. ^ a b c Tadeg, Hailu; Mohammed, Endris; Asres, Kaleab; Gebre-Mariam, Tsige (2005-02-15). "Antimicrobial activities of some selected traditional Ethiopian medicinal plants used in the treatment of skin disorders" (PDF). Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 100 (1–2): 168–175. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.02.031. PMID 16054532. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-08-09. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  7. ^ a b c d Debell, A; Makonnen, E; Zerihun, L; Abebe, D; Teka, F (2005-04-01). "In-vivo antipyretic studies of the aqueous and ethanol extracts of the leaves of Ajuga remota and Lippia adoensis". Ethiopian Medical Journal. 43 (2): 111–118. ISSN 0014-1755. PMID 16370541. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  8. ^ a b c d e Fichtl, Reinhard; Adi, Admasu (1994). Honeybee flora of Ethiopia. Margraf Verlag. p. 210. ISBN 9783823612346. OCLC 246591494.
  9. ^ a b Berns, Kittee (2015). Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking. Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Company. pp. 10, 19, 25. ISBN 9781570673115. OCLC 957165155.
  10. ^ Balster, Laura M. (2010). Brandy. AuthorHouse. p. 196. ISBN 978-1452009865.
  11. ^ "Kosseret ኮሰረት - Butter Clarifying Herb - Brundo Market". Brundo Market. Oakland, CA: Brundo Market. 2017. Archived from the original on 9 November 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017. Kosseret ኮሰረት - Butter Clarifying Herb $ 7.95 Ethiopia’s wild herb Kosseret (a sage like plant) is used in the making of clarified butter and seasoned oil. It enhances many sauces and stews and is often added to sea food and used as a meat rub. Origin: Ethiopia
  12. ^ a b c d e f Quattrocchi, Umberto (2016-04-19). CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology. CRC Press. pp. 2297–8. ISBN 9781482250640.
  13. ^ a b Uphof, Johannes Cornelis Theodorus (1968) [1959]. Dictionary of Economic Plants (second ed.). New York, NY: J. Cramer. p. 315. ISBN 9783904144711. OCLC 48693661.
  14. ^ a b c Seidemann, Johannes (27 December 2005). "L". World Spice Plants: Economic Usage, Botany, Taxonomy. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 209. ISBN 9783540279082.
  15. ^ Asfaw, Nigist; Demissew, Sebsebe (2009). Aromatic Plants of Ethiopia. Shama Books. pp. 234, 240, 251. ISBN 9789994400379.
  16. ^ a b c d Rabaté, J. (1938). "Etude des essences de Lippia adoensis Hochst" [Study of extracts of Lippia adoensis Hochst.]. Revue de Botanique Appliquée et d'Agriculture Coloniale (in French). 18 (201): 350–354. doi:10.3406/jatba.1938.5863.
  17. ^ a b Milkias, Paulos (2011-05-18). Ethiopia. ABC-CLIO. p. 359. ISBN 9781598842586.
  18. ^ a b c Sishu, riot; Yonathan, Mariamawit; Seyoum, Ameha; Asres, Kaleab (2005). "Radical Scavenging Activity of Volatile Oils of herbs Traditionally Used to Spice Cooking Butter in Ethiopia" (pdf). Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Journal. 23: 7–14. doi:10.4314/epj.v23i1.35086. ISSN 1029-5933. Archived from the original on 2018-10-09. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  19. ^ van Wyk, Ben-Erik (2014-09-26). Culinary Herbs and Spices of the World. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. p. 9. ISBN 9780226091839.
  20. ^ Terra, G.J.A. (1966). "IIIA The Principal Cultivated or Much used Tropical Vegetables". Tropical vegetables: vegetable growing in the tropics and subtropics especially of indigenous vegetables. Communication. 54e (1st ed.). Amsterdam: Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen. p. 57. OCLC 9027279. Herb, cultivated as a potherb in Congo

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