(As a side note, the End the Habit program uses the recommended Lobelia
inflata, not Lobelia siphilitica)
From NAKA Herbs & Vitamins Ltd.
'Breathe Deep with Lobelia'
One of the most powerful and
effective medicinal ingredients is respiratory stimulant Lobelia
extract. Lobelia works in two wonderful ways for respiratory
conditions as both an antispasmodic and expectorant. It helps
reduce bronchial asthma and coughing attacks (antispasmodic) and
helps expel mucous in the lungs (expectorant).
This cough suppressant and relaxant
is also beneficial for those with fever and cold symptoms.
Lobelia is high in manganese,
vitamin A (needed for tissue repair) and C (immunostimulant), and
alkaloids (gums, resins, lipids, essential oil and lobelic acid).
Working to stimulate the brain stem
Lobelia produces stronger and deeper breathing.
Due to its high piperidine alkaloid
content (imitating the effects of nicotine) it is also beneficial
for those trying to quit smoking.
From the Encyclopedia of
by Peter Gregutt
also known as Indian tobacco, wild tobacco, pukeweed, emetic weed,
asthma weed and gagroot, is native to North America and can commonly
be found growing wild over much of the United States. The erect stem
reaches a height of between 6 in (15 cm) and several feet. The many
small blue flowers appear in midsummer and are visible through late
fall. The stem is hairy, and the plant contains a milk-like sap.
Worldwide, there are more than 200 species of lobelia, growing
predominantly in the temperate and tropical zones. Some species
found at high elevations in mountainous areas of Asia and Africa may
achieve a height of up to 15 ft (5.5 m). At the other end of the
size spectrum, the dwarf lobelia (Lobelia erina) is sometimes
cultivated as a small ornamental or hanging plant.
powerful plant has the distinction of being simultaneously a
stimulant (for the respiratory system) and a general relaxant. This
unusual combination may help account for the remarkably diverse
assortment of ailments for which lobelia is used.
with, lobelia is commonly associated with the treatment of
lung-related ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, coughs, pneumonia,
colds and flu, and other upper-respiratory problems.
not surprisingly, then, this well-established medicinal plant has a
special relationship with the (also long-established) practice of
smoking. In some Native American cultures, lobelia was smoked as a
treatment for lung diseases, which presumably led early European
naturalists to dub the plant Indian tobacco. Considering the plant's
value as an overall tonic for the lungs, this practice stands in
marked contrast to contemporary use of tobacco (which many Native
American cultures also used) as a plant to be smoked. Even more
intriguingly, lobelia is commonly used as an aid to stopping
smoking, sometimes in combination with cramp bark . One of the
alkaloids in lobelia, lobeline, has effects on humans similar to
those of nicotine and can be helpful in treating the symptoms of
nicotine withdrawal. These same properties may perhaps also explain
the use of the plant to treat hangovers and alcoholism.
Campanulaceae — Bellflower family
From 'Herbal Remedies for Canadians' by Paul R. Saunders, PhD, ND, DHANP, CCH
and Frankie Avalon Wolfe
Lobelia ( Lobelia inflata or Lobelia siphilitica ) is an herb tried
and true for helping many smokers quit. The species Lobelia inflata is the
herb you will most likely spelled out on herb bottles, as it has less of the
emetic ( vomit-inducing ) quality that the other relative, Lobelia siphilitica.
We have already discussed some of lobelia's usefulness for asthma in Chapter 6,
"Give me Another A," and as an emetic for food poisoning in Chapter 11, "F:
Fantastic Healing Flora." However, this herb really is tops when it comes
to quitting and recovering from cigarette smoking and tobacco chewing.
This is probably because lobelia contains the active ingredient lobeline, which
is almost identical to nicotine and has similar effects on the nervous system.
However, because the dose is a fraction of that in tobacco, it satisfies the
craving with none of the toxic side effects that cigarettes have on the body.
If you continue to smoke while taking lobelia, your smoking could make you
feel ill. Lobelia is a strong herb and is not meant for daily use over
long periods of time; it is more useful to relieve acute conditions over a
fairly short period of time. Consult your herbalist or naturopathic
After you quit, lobelia can be used for a couple of week to help your lungs
eliminate excess tar and mucous, calm the nerves, and help your body rejuvenate.
Best Single Herb: Lobelia
Other Helpful Supplements: All antioxidants
Complementary Help: Vigorous exercise; herbal cleansing or
fasting to clear all toxins from body and eradicate cravings.
(in the Lobeliaceae or Bluebell family)
Part used: Aerial portions with ripe seed.
Taste/smell: Very acrid.
Dosage: Infusion: 1 teaspoon per cup of water; or 1:2 fresh
strength liquid extract: 1-10 drops, 1-6 times per day.
Mental picture and specific indications: Lobelia is for
conditions of a spasmodic nature. It is specific for dyspnea
increased with exertion and aggravated by exposure to cold.
Use: (a) Stimulant, (b) Diaphoretic, (c) Expectorant, (d)
Antispasmodic, (e) Emetic.
Lobelia is a diffusive stimulant, best used where arterial action is
strong. It equalizes the circulation of blood in the body. It is
for spasmodic coughs like croup, whooping cough, bronchial asthma,
bronchitis and pleurisy. Lobelia is used during parturition when the
os is spongy and not relaxing. It is a wonderful antispasmodic for
many conditions. It is used externally as well as internally as an
Lobelia's constituent, lobeline, has been used as a treatment for
nicotine addiction because it acts similarly to nicotine on
Lobelia inflata L. (Campanulaceae)
Indian tobacco, asthma weed, bladder pod, bladder-podded lobelia,
emetic herb, emetic weed, eyebright, field lobelia, gagroot, Indian
Tobacco lobelia, lobelia, obelia, pukeweed, tobacco lobelia,
vomitwort, wild tobacco.
A branching annual that grows to 3 feet in height. Leaves are 1 to 3
inches long. Produces small, violet-pinkish-white flowers situated
in axils of alternate leaves, the bottom of which greatly inflate in
July to September.
Weedy fields, roadsides, woods, and in partial shade.
Herb when in flower and forming seeds.
The herb yields lobeline sulfate, which is used in anti-tobacco
therapy. It is also used as a stimulant, anti-asthmatic, and
expectorant in cases of bronchitis.
From National Geographic's 'Nature's Medicine - Plants That Heal' by Joel L.
Swerdlow PhD - pg.367
Common Names - Lobelia, Indian tobacco, Pukeweed, Bladderpod
Latin Name - Lobelia Inflata
Family - Campanulaceae
Parts Used - Flower, seed, root
Description - Growing as high as one to two feet, this annual or
biennial hair-covered herb has an angled, branched stem and yellowish or light
green leaves. The herb bears pale violet-blue spiky flowers and oval fruit
with small brown seeds.
Habitat - Indigenous to North America, lobelia is found along
roadsides in the eastern United States, Canada, and Russia's Kamchatka
Folklore and Traditional Uses - Carl von Linne, the Swedish botanist
known as Linnaeus, the father of modern botany, named this plant family after
the Flemish botanist and private physician to King James I, Matthias de Lobel.
Native Americans employed it ceremonially as they did tobacco to ward off
storms, place on graves, or use in rain dances. Other groups made lobelia
part of their love potions or used it as an antidote to such charms. Some
burned it to smoke away gnats.
Medicinal Uses - Native Americans treated dozens or ailments with
lobelia, ranging from fevers and venereal diseases to earaches and stiff necks.
American herbalist Samuel Thompson, whom most Westerners credit with discovering
the medicinal uses of lobelia, created a controversial healing system centered
around it, which he prescribed to induce vomiting. Containing relatively
high levels of manganese, Vitamin A and Vitamin C, lobelia is currently employed
as a blood cleanser and used as a respiratory stimulant to treat bronchial and
spasmodic asthma and chronic bronchitis. Lobeline, its principal alkaloid,
stimulates deeper breathing. Applied externally, lobelia works as a muscle
relaxant to treat sprains and certain back problems.