COLEUS

OTHER NAME(S):

17beta-acetoxy-8,13-epoxy-1alpha, 6beta,9alpha-trihydroxylabd-14-en-11-one, Borforsin, Coleus, Coleus barbatus, Coleus forskolii, Coleus forskohlii, Colforsin, Colforsine, Forskohlii, Forskolin, Forskolina, Forskoline, HL-362, L-75-1362B, Plectranthus barbatus.<br/><br/>

Overview

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.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

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.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • 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.
  • Allergies.
  • Skin.
  • Obesity.
  • Period pains.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder infections.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Chest pain.
  • Cancer.
  • Blood clots.
  • Insomnia.
  • Seizures.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of forskolin for these uses.

Side Effects

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.

Interactions

Interactions?

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.<br/><br/> 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.<br/><br/> 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.<br/><br/> 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.

Dosing

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

INTRAVENOUS:

  • Healthcare providers give forskolin intravenously (by IV) for a heart condition called idiopathic congestive cardiopathy.
INHALATION:
  • Under medical supervision, people with asthma breathe in forskolin powder using a Spinhaler inhalator.

View References

REFERENCES:

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  • Bartels, S. P., Lee, S. R., and Neufeld, A. H. The effects of forskolin on cyclic AMP, intraocular pressure and aqueous humor formation in rabbits. Curr.Eye Res 1987;6(2):307-320. View abstract.
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  • Matsumoto, S., Yamashita, T., Araie, M., Kametani, S., Hosokawa, T., and Takase, M. The ocular penetration of topical forskolin and its effects on intraocular pressure, aqueous flow rate and cyclic AMP level in the rabbit eye. Jpn.J Ophthalmol. 1990;34(4):428-435. View abstract.
  • Mulhall, J. P., Daller, M., Traish, A. M., Gupta, S., Park, K., Salimpour, P., Payton, T. R., Krane, R. J., and Goldstein, I. Intracavernosal forskolin: role in management of vasculogenic impotence resistant to standard 3-agent pharmacotherapy. J Urol 1997;158(5):1752-1758. View abstract.
  • Pieske, B., Trost, S., Schutt, K., Minami, K., Just, H., and Hasenfuss, G. Influence of forskolin on the force-frequency behavior in nonfailing and end-stage failing human myocardium. Basic Res Cardiol. 1998;93 Suppl 1:66-75. View abstract.
  • Rembold, C. M. and Chen, X. L. Mechanisms responsible for forskolin-induced relaxation of rat tail artery. Hypertension 1998;31(3):872-877. View abstract.
  • Sashidhara, K. V., Rosaiah, J. N., Kumar, A., Bid, H. K., Konwar, R., and Chattopadhyay, N. Cell growth inhibitory action of an unusual labdane diterpene, 13-epi-sclareol in breast and uterine cancers in vitro. Phytother Res 2007;21(11):1105-1108. View abstract.
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  • Staudinger, J. L., Ding, X., and Lichti, K. Pregnane X receptor and natural products: beyond drug-drug interactions. Expert.Opin Drug Metab Toxicol 2006;2(6):847-857. View abstract.
  • Undem, B. J. and Buckner, C. K. Effects of forskolin alone and in combination with isoproterenol on antigen-induced histamine release from guinea-pig minced lung. Arch Int Pharmacodyn.Ther. 1986;281(1):110-119. View abstract.
  • van Hecke, E., Hindryckx, P., Geuns, J. M., and Devriese, E. Airborne contact dermatitis from coleus in a housewife. Contact Dermatitis 1991;25(2):128-129. View abstract.
  • Wajima, Z., Shiga, T., Yoshikawa, T., Ogura, A., Imanaga, K., Inoue, T., and Ogawa, R. Effect of prophylactic bronchodilator treatment with intravenous colforsin daropate, a water-soluble forskolin derivative, on airway resistance after tracheal intubation. Anesthesiology 2003;99(1):18-26. View abstract.
  • Wong, S., Mok, W., Phaneuf, S., Katz, S., and Salari, H. Forskolin inhibits platelet-activating factor binding to platelet receptors independently of adenylyl cyclase activation. Eur J Pharmacol 3-15-1993;245(1):55-61. View abstract.
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  • Yanagihara, H., Sakata, R., Shoyama, Y., and Murakami, H. Rapid analysis of small samples containing forskolin using monoclonal antibodies. Planta Med 1996;62(2):169-172. View abstract.
  • Yang, Q. R., Wu, H. Z., Wang, X. M., Zou, G. A., and Liu, Y. W. Three new diterpenoids from Coleus forskohlii Briq. J Asian Nat Prod Res 2006;8(4):355-360. View abstract.
  • Zeng, S., Shen, B., Wen, L., Hu, B., Peng, D., Chen, X., and Zhou, W. Experimental studies of the effect of Forskolin on the lowering of intraocular pressure. Yan.Ke.Xue.Bao. 1995;11(3):173-176. View abstract.
  • Agarwal KC, Parks RE. Forskolin: a potential antimetastatic agent. Int J Cancer 1983;32:801-4. View abstract.
  • Agarwal KC, Zielinski BA, Maitra RS. Significance of plasma adenosine in the antiplatelet activity of forskolin: potentiation by dipyridamole and dilazep. Thromb Haemost 1989;61:106-10. View abstract.
  • Almeida, F. C. and Lemonica, I. P. The toxic effects of Coleus barbatus B. on the different periods of pregnancy in rats. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;73(1-2):53-60. View abstract.
  • Ammon HP, Muller AB. Forskolin: From a ayurvedic remedy to a modern agent. Planta Med 1985;6:473-7.
  • Bauer K, Dietersdorfer F, Kaspar S, et al. Pharmacodynamic effects of inhaled dry powder formulations of fenoterol and colforsin in asthma. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1993;53:76-83. View abstract.
  • Baumann G, Felix S, Sattelberger U, Klein G. Cardiovascular effects of forskolin (HL-362) in patients with idiopathic congestiv cardiomyopathy. A comparative study with dobutamine and sodium nitroprusside. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 1990;16:93-100. View abstract.
  • Brubaker RF, Carlson KH, Kullerstrand LJ, et al. Topical forskolin (colforsin) and aqueous flow in humans. Arch Ophthalmol 1987;105:637-41. View abstract.
  • Burstein NL, Sears ML, Mead A. Aqueous flow in human eyes is reduced by forskolin, a potent adenylate cyclase activator. Exp Eye Res 1984;39:745-9. View abstract.
  • Caprioli J, Sears M, Bausher L, et al. Forskolin lowers intraocular pressure by reducing aqueous inflow. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1984;25:268-77. View abstract.
  • Caprioli J, Sears M. Forskolin lowers intraocular pressure in rabbits, monkeys, and man. Lancet 1983;1:958-60. View abstract.
  • Christenson JT, Thulesius O, Nazzal MM. The effect of forskolin on blood flow, platelet metabolism, aggregation and ATP release. Vasa 1995;24:56-61. View abstract.
  • Godard MP, Johnson BA, Richmond SR. Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men. Obes Res. 2005;13(8):1335-43. View abstract.
  • González-Sánchez R, Trujillo X, Trujillo-Hernández B, et al. Forskolin versus sodium cromoglycate for prevention of asthma attacks: a single-blinded clinical trial. J Int Med Res. 2006 Mar-Apr;34(2):200-7. View abstract.
  • Huerta M, Urzúa Z, Trujillo X, et al. Forskolin compared with beclomethasone for prevention of asthma attacks: a single-blind clinical trial. J Int Med Res. 2010;38(2):661-8. View abstract.
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  • Lindner E, Metzger H. The action of forskolin on muscle cells is modified by hormones, calcium ions and calcium antagonists. Arzneimittelforschung 1983;33:1436-41. View abstract.
  • Loftus HL, Astell KJ, Mathai ML, et al. Coleus forskohlii Extract Supplementation in Conjunction with a Hypocaloric Diet Reduces the Risk Factors of Metabolic Syndrome in Overweight and Obese Subjects: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2015;7(11):9508-22. View abstract.
  • Metzger H, Lindner E. The positive inotropic-acting forskolin, a potent adenylatecyclase activator. Arzneimittelforschung 1981;31:1248-50. View abstract.
  • Meyer BH, Stulting AA, Muller FO, et al. The effects of forskolin eye drops on intra-ocular pressure. S Afr Med J 1987;71:570-1. View abstract.
  • Mutolo MG, Albanese G, Rusciano D, et al. Oral Administration of Forskolin, Homotaurine, Carnosine, and Folic Acid in Patients with Primary Open Angle Glaucoma: Changes in Intraocular Pressure, Pattern Electroretinogram Amplitude, and Foveal Sensitivity. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Apr;32(3):178-83. View abstract.
  • Nebbioso M, Belcaro G, Librando A, et al. Forskolin and rutin prevent intraocular pressure spikes after Nd:YAG laser iridotomy. Panminerva Med. 2012;54(1 Suppl 4):77-82. View abstract.
  • Nebbioso M, Rusciano D, Pucci B, et al. Treatment of glaucomatous patients by means of food supplement to reduce the ocular discomfort: a double blind randomized trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013;17(8):1117-22. View abstract.
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  • Tzanakakis GN, Agarwal KC, Vezeridis MP. Inhibition of hepatic metastasis from a human pancreatic adenocarcinoma (RWP-2) in the nude mouse by prostacyclin, forskolin, and ketoconazole. Cancer 1990;65:446-51. View abstract.
  • Vetrugno M, Uva MG, Russo V, et al. Oral administration of forskolin and rutin contributes to intraocular pressure control in primary open angle glaucoma patients under maximum tolerated medical therapy. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2012;28(5):536-41. View abstract.
  • Yokotani K, Chiba T, Sato Y, et al. Hepatic cytochrome P450 mediates interaction between warfarin and Coleus forskohlii extract in vivo and in vitro. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2012;64(12):1793-801. View abstract.

More Resources for COLEUS

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.

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