COLEUS Overview Information
Forskolin is a chemical found in the roots of the plant Plectranthus barbatus (Coleus forskohlii). This plant has been used since ancient times to treat heart disorders such as high blood pressure and chest pain (angina), as well as respiratory disorders such as asthma.
When taken by mouth, forskolin is also used to treat allergies, skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, obesity, painful menstrual periods, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), urinary tract infections (UTI), bladder infections, advanced cancer, blood clots, sexual problems in men, trouble sleeping (insomnia), and convulsions.
Healthcare providers sometimes give forskolin intravenously (by IV) for heart failure.
Some people breathe in (inhale) forskolin powder for asthma.
Forskolin drops are used in the eyes to treat glaucoma.
Herbal product manufacturers are now producing Coleus forskohlii extracts that contain high levels of forskolin. These preparations are being promoted for the same conditions for which forskolin has been traditionally used. However, currently there is no reliable scientific information that shows Coleus forskohlii extracts taken by mouth are effective.
How does it work?
Forskolin works on muscles in the heart and in the walls of the blood vessels. It produces a more powerful heartbeat and widening of the blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure.
Possibly Effective for:
- A heart condition called idiopathic congestive cardiomyopathy. Some research shows that giving coleus intravenously (by IV) may improve the function of the heart in people with congestive cardiomyopathy.
- Asthma. Some research shows that inhaling a single dose of coleus can improve symptoms of asthma.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED). Early research suggests that injecting coleus into the base of the penis along with the drugs phentolamine, papaverine, and prostaglandin E1 improves sexual function in men with ED.
- Increased pressure in the eyes. Some early research suggests that using coleus eye drops can significantly decrease eye pressure in healthy people without eye disease. Coleus has not yet been tested in patients with glaucoma.
- Period pains.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder infections.
- High blood pressure.
- Chest pain.
- Blood clots.
- Other conditions.
COLEUS Side Effects & Safety
Coleus is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when given intravenously (by IV), when inhaled (breathed in), or when applied as eye drops. However, there can be some side effects. When given by IV, coleus can cause flushing and low blood pressure. When inhaled, coleus can cause throat irritation, cough, tremor, and restlessness. Eye drops containing coleus can cause stinging.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy: Coleus is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used during pregnancy. High doses of coleus might slow or stop the growth of the fetus. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking coleus if you are breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Bleeding disorders: There is some evidence that coleus might increase the risk of bleeding in some people.
Heart disease: Coleus might lower blood pressure. There is some concern that coleus might interfere with treatment for heart or blood vessel diseases and could make these conditions worse. Use coleus with caution if you have a heart problem.
Low blood pressure: Coleus might lower blood pressure. If your blood pressure is already low, taking coleus might make it drop too much.
Surgery: Coleus might increase bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using coleus at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Major Interaction Do not take this combination
- Medications for high blood pressure (Calcium channel blockers) interacts with COLEUS
Forskolin might decrease blood pressure. Taking forskolin with medication for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.
Some medications for high blood pressure include nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan), diltiazem (Cardizem), isradipine (DynaCirc), felodipine (Plendil), amlodipine (Norvasc), and others.
- Medications that increase blood flow to the heart (Nitrates) interacts with COLEUS
Forskolin increases blood flow. Taking forskolin with medications that increase blood flow to the heart might increase the chance of dizziness and lightheadedness.
Some of these medications that increase blood flow to the heart include nitroglycerin (Nitro-Bid, Nitro-Dur, Nitrostat) and isosorbide (Imdur, Isordil, Sorbitrate).
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with COLEUS
Forskolin might slow blood clotting. Taking forskolin along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- Healthcare providers give forskolin intravenously (by IV) for a heart condition called idiopathic congestive cardiopathy.
- Under medical supervision, people with asthma breathe in forskolin powder using a Spinhaler inhalator.