Lobelia Herb – Benefits And Side Effects

Botanical name: Lobelia inflata

Actions: Alkaloids, antispasmodic, anti­venomous, astringent, cathartic, chlorophyll, counter-irritant, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, fixed oil, gum, isolobeline, etc., lignin, salts of lime and potassium

Parts used : Fresh and dried herb and seeds

Lobelia was introduced more than 200 years ago from the region around the Cape of Good Hope. The original wild forms of lobelia have been bred to bloom more profusely. There are both trailing varieties, with billowing masses of blossoms, and more compact bedding types, seldom exceeding 6 inches in height. The 1/2- to 3/4-inch-wide flowers, borne along each stem, are blue on the common varieties, but white and carmine types have also been developed.

Lobelia is sometimes called Indian tobacco because the American Indians smoked it for various benefits. It has been shown to contain a substance called lobeline, similar to nicotine.

Medical uses and benefits of Lobelia

  • One of nature’s greatest antispasmodics.
  • Useful in spasms, cramping, convulsions, epileptic seizures, spinal cord injuries, and the like.
  • A very powerful nervine.
  • Has a relaxing effect.
  • Very useful in cases of asthma, emphysema, and C.O.P.D., where spasms of the bronchi and lung tissue blocks proper breathing. Action is similar to inhalers, but allows for expectoration (which is vital).
  • Lobelia has some expectorant properties, therefore very beneficial in removal of con­gestion, specifically in the respiratory system.
  • It is also a hemostatic (stops internal and external bleeding).
  • Great for angina pectoris or infarctions (heart attacks).
  • Useful in cases of equilibrium or fainting issues.


  • Lobelia frequently causes nausea and vomiting when the amount used is too high.
  • Lobelia should be avoided during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

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