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LOBELIA

Other Names:

Asthma Weed, Bladderpod, Emetic Herb, Gagroot, Herbe à Asthme, Indian Tobacco, Lobelia inflata, Lobélie, Lobélie Brûlante, Lobélie Enflée, Lobélie Gonflée, Pukeweed, Tabac Indien, Vomit Wort, Wild Tobacco.

 Overview
 Uses
 Side Effects
 Interactions
 Dosing
Overview Information

Lobelia is a plant. The above ground parts are used to make medicine.

Lobelia is used for breathing problems including asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, and shortness of breath (apnea) in newborn infants. Some people take lobelia as a sedative to help them relax. Other people use it to increase sweating.

Lobelia is applied to the skin for muscle pain, joint lumps associated with rheumatoid arthritis (rheumatic nodules), bruises, sprains, insect bites, poison ivy, and ringworm.

In manufacturing, lobelia is used in cough preparations and counterirritant products. Some stop-smoking products around the world include lobelia as an ingredient. But since 1993, manufacturers have not been allowed to include lobelia in stop-smoking products sold in the U.S. That’s when research found that lobelia doesn’t make stop-smoking products any more effective.

How does it work?

Lobelia contains chemicals that might thin mucus (phlegm) to make it easier to cough up (expectorate) and help breathing, especially in people with asthma. One chemical in lobelia has actions similar to nicotine.

Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Ineffective for:


Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Asthma.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Cough.
  • Use on the skin for muscle soreness, bruises, sprains, insect bites, poison ivy, ringworm, and other conditions.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of lobelia for these uses.


Side Effects & Safety

Lobelia is considered UNSAFE for most people when taken by mouth. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, dizziness, tremors, and more serious effects.

Overdose may cause many serious toxic effects including sweating, convulsions, fast heartbeat, very low blood pressure, collapse, coma, and possibly death. Taking 0.6-1 gram of the leaf is said to be toxic, and 4 grams may be fatal.

Not enough is known about the safety of applying lobelia to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s UNSAFE for anyone to take lobelia by mouth. The particular concern during pregnancy is that it can cause serious vomiting. Don’t take lobelia if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Stomach or intestinal problems including ulcers, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, infections, and others: Lobelia can irritate the GI tract.

Heart disease: Lobelia seems to affect the heart. Larger doses cause more of an effect.

Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Lithium interacts with LOBELIA

    Lobelia might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking lobelia might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.


Dosing

The appropriate dose of lobelia depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for lobelia. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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