Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), also called Indian tobacco, has a long history of use as an herbal remedy and it is one of the greatest herbs ever given to the world. A brief history of this amazing herb starts with the Native Americans, who smoked it as a treatment for respiratory problems. In the 19th century, American physicians prescribed Lobelia to induce vomiting in order to remove toxins from the body. Because of this, it earned the name “puke weed.” After that, the belief that Lobelia was a dangerous poison began, due to the fact that Dr. Samuel Thompson was having an amazing success treting his patient with this herbal remedy, instead of using orthodox medicine.
Nowadays, scientists think an active ingredient in the Lobelia plant, lobeline, may have similar effects to nicotine. For this reason, back in the days they were using lobeline as a nicotine substitute in many antismoking products and preparations designed to break the smoking habit.
In general, Lobelia is an efficient relaxant, the best counter-irritant known to mankind! Its action is felt immediately on the serous, mucous, muscular and nervous system of our body. It is also a powerful antispasmodic, expanding at the same time the contracted parts of the respiratory system, allowing the “breath of life” (oxygenized blood) to flow freely in the whole body.
Lobelia is also commonly known as a “selective thinking herb”. This means that when a foetus is dead or in an extremely weakened condition, this herb will cause it to abort. While, if the foetus is healthy but the mother is sick, it will help the mother healing and strengthen, enabling her to carry the child until the delivery. Then during the labour, Lobelia will allay and regulate the violent pains and ease the spasms. Very effective also for menstrual disorders.
Be careful though! Bear in mind that Lobelia is a potentially toxic herb. You can safely use it in small doses (for example homeopathic doses), but moderate to large doses may cause side effects ranging from dry mouth and nausea to convulsions and even coma. As a general rule, an herbalist should always give it in combination with a stimulant as per its powerful relaxing effects. But anyway, you should use lobelia only under the supervision of your health care provider.
Preparations and Dosage (for adults, with normal weight and no medical conditions):
Decoction, fluid extract, infusion (mostly seeds crushed), pills, poultrice, powder (leaves, stems, flowers and pods), syrup and tincture (green and dried leaves). With prudence, you may give Lobelia in either small or large doses, at shorter or longer intervals:
- Decoction: 1/2 cupful
- Fluid extract 10 to 30 drops
- Infusion 1 cupful
- Powder 200-650 milligrams
- Solid Extract 100-300 milligrams
- Syrup 1 to 4 teaspoons
- Tincture 1/2-1 teaspoon, or 10 to 30 drops
Syrup of Lobelia (for cough and vomit inducer):
2 and half ounces of Lobelia and 2 ints of distilled water, simmer togheter down to 1 pint. Strain and dissolve 2 pounds of raw sugar or 1 pounds of honey into it. Take 1 teaspoon for coughs or up to 1 cupful as a vomit inducer.
Decoction of Lobelia (for liver problems, jaundice):
1 part of Lobelia, 1 part of Pleurisy root, 1 part of Catnip and 1 part of Bitter root. Mix the herbs well and steep 1 teaspoon of this combination in 1 cup of noiling water for 15 to 20 minutes, then strain. Take 2 tablespoon hot every 2 hours.
Tincture of Lobelia (for relief fever, asthma and spasms):
2 ounces of Lobelia herb, steam and flowers, 2 ounces of crushed Lobelia seeds and 1 pint of apple cider vinegar (better choice than alcohol). Macerate in a tightly capped bottle for 10 to 14 days. Shake every time you walk by it, or at least once a day. Strain off the liquid and bottle it for use.