Uses of Lobelia
Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) is an attractive annual or biennial considered to be one of the most valuable herbal remedies ever discovered, according to Potter’s Encyclopedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations. Lobelia has historically been used and appreciated for a number of functions, including toxin removal, addiction, and, perhaps most notably, it’s ability to relieve problematic respiratory symptoms, such as a cough and asthma.
How Does Lobelia Work?
The primary active constituent in lobelia, responsible for its beneficial characteristics, is an alkaloid known as lobeline. Lobeline is an expectorant, diaphoretic, and bronchodilator that is able to support the respiratory system in a multidimensional way. As an expectorant, lobeline helps break down congestion and thin mucus. That, combined with its bronchodilating effects, helps to open the airway and encourage deeper, stronger breathing; particularly with instances of asthma and cold symptoms.
Lobelia and Respiratory Ailments
One of lobelia’s main benefits may be its ability to relieve asthma symptoms. Equestrian studies have discovered that horses injected with lobelia allowed them to breath deeper. It is believed that lobelia stimulates the adrenal glands to release epinephrine, in effect, this relaxes the airways and allows for easier breathing.
Lobelia also has strong anti-spasmodic properties, which means it helps to relax smooth muscles. This has lead to its inclusion in remedies for spasmodic coughs related to croup, bronchial asthma, bronchitis, and laryngitis. Lobelia is also found in many over-the counter cold remedy applications.
Lobelia is available in tablets, liquid extracts, tinctures, and teas. In small doses for adults, lobelia is not associated with any side effects.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
- Marlin DJ, Roberts CA, Schroter RC, Lekeux P. Respiratory responses of mature horses to intravenous lobeline bolus. Equine Vet J. 2000 May;32(3):200-7.