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 Information

Lobelia is a plant that grows in Canada and the northern U.S. The above ground parts are used to make medicine.

Lobelia is used for asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, quitting smoking, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Lobelia is also likely unsafe when taken by mouth.

How does it work?

Lobelia contains chemicals that might thin mucus (phlegm) to make it easier to cough up. One chemical in lobelia has actions similar to nicotine.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Quitting smoking. Most research suggests that taking lobeline, a chemical found in lobelia, does not help people to quit smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Asthma.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Cough.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of lobelia for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Lobelia is LIKELY UNSAFE for most people. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, dizziness, and tremors. Large doses of lobelia may cause serious toxic effects including sweating, convulsions, fast heartbeat, very low blood pressure, coma, and possibly death. Taking 0.6-1 gram of the leaf is said to be toxic, and 4 grams may be fatal.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if lobelia is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

It's LIKELY UNSAFE for anyone to take lobelia by mouth. But lobelia is especially dangerous for people with the following conditions:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking lobelia is LIKELY UNSAFE. It can cause serious vomiting. Don't take lobelia if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Stomach or intestinal problems including ulcers, Crohn disease, inflammatory bowel disease, infections, and others: Lobelia can irritate the GI tract, which might make these conditions worse.

Heart disease: Lobelia can affect the heart, especially when taken in large doses. Do not take lobelia if you have heart disease.



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.



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.

View References


  • Davison, G. C. and Rosen, R. C. Lobeline and reduction of cigarette smoking. Psychol.Rep 1972;31(2):443-456. View abstract.
  • Dwoskin, L. P. and Crooks, P. A. A novel mechanism of action and potential use for lobeline as a treatment for psychostimulant abuse. Biochem.Pharmacol. 1-15-2002;63(2):89-98. View abstract.
  • Ikeda, K., Takahashi, M., Nishida, M., Miyauchi, M., Kizu, H., Kameda, Y., Arisawa, M., Watson, A. A., Nash, R. J., Fleet, G. W., and Asano, N. Homonojirimycin analogues and their glucosides from Lobelia sessilifolia and Adenophora spp. (Campanulaceae). Carbohydr.Res 1-12-2000;323(1-4):73-80. View abstract.
  • KACZMAREK, F. and STEINEGGER, E. [Botanical classification and alkaloid content in the genus Lobelia.]. Pharm.Acta Helv. 1959;34:413-429. View abstract.
  • KACZMAREK, F. and STEINEGGER, E. [Paper chromatographic separation of the alkaloids of Lobelia inflata from lobinaline, the main alkaloid of Lobelia cardinalis.]. Pharm.Acta Helv. 1959;34:330-333. View abstract.
  • LENDLE, L. and RICHTER, R. [Pharmacologic analysis of the emetic and asthmalytic effects of Lobelia tinctures.]. Klin.Wochenschr. 10-15-1950;28(39-40):665-667. View abstract.
  • Lim, D. Y., Kim, Y. S., and Miwa, S. Influence of lobeline on catecholamine release from the isolated perfused rat adrenal gland. Auton.Neurosci. 1-30-2004;110(1):27-35. View abstract.
  • Lovkova, M. I., Buzuk, G. N., Sokolova, S. M., Kliment'eva, N. I., Ponomareva, S. M., Shelepova, O. V., and Vorotnitskaia, I. E. [Medicinal plants--concentrators of chromium. The role of chromium in alkaloid metabolism]. Izv.Akad.Nauk Ser.Biol. 1996;(5):552-564. View abstract.
  • Miller, D. K., Crooks, P. A., and Dwoskin, L. P. Lobeline inhibits nicotine-evoked [(3)H]dopamine overflow from rat striatal slices and nicotine-evoked (86)Rb(+) efflux from thalamic synaptosomes. Neuropharmacology 2000;39(13):2654-2662. View abstract.
  • Plakun, A. L., Ambrus, J., Bross, I., Graham, S., Levin, M. L., and Ross, C. A. Clinical factors in smoking withdrawal: preliminary report. Am J Public Health Nations.Health 1966;56(3):434-441. View abstract.
  • Shibano, M., Tsukamoto, D., Masuda, A., Tanaka, Y., and Kusano, G. Two new pyrrolidine alkaloids, radicamines A and B, as inhibitors of alpha-glucosidase from Lobelia chinensis Lour. Chem Pharm.Bull.(Tokyo) 2001;49(10):1362-1365. View abstract.
  • STEINEGGER, E. and EGGER, F. [Lophilin and lophilacrin, two new alkaloids from Lobelia.]. Pharm.Acta Helv. 8-31-1952;27(8):207-211. View abstract.
  • Subarnas, A., Oshima, Y., Sidik, and Ohizumi, Y. An antidepressant principle of Lobelia inflata L. (Campanulaceae). J Pharm.Sci. 1992;81(7):620-621. View abstract.
  • Subarnas, A., Tadano, T., Nakahata, N., Arai, Y., Kinemuchi, H., Oshima, Y., Kisara, K., and Ohizumi, Y. A possible mechanism of antidepressant activity of beta-amyrin palmitate isolated from Lobelia inflata leaves in the forced swimming test. Life Sci. 1993;52(3):289-296. View abstract.
  • Subarnas, A., Tadano, T., Oshima, Y., Kisara, K., and Ohizumi, Y. Pharmacological properties of beta-amyrin palmitate, a novel centrally acting compound, isolated from Lobelia inflata leaves. J Pharm.Pharmacol. 1993;45(6):545-550. View abstract.
  • Teng, L., Crooks, P. A., and Dwoskin, L. P. Lobeline displaces [3H]dihydrotetrabenazine binding and releases [3H]dopamine from rat striatal synaptic vesicles: comparison with d-amphetamine. J Neurochem. 1998;71(1):258-265. View abstract.
  • Weinges, K., Bahr, W., Ebert, W., and Kloss, P. [Norlobelanidine, the main alkaloid from Lobelia polyphylla Hook and Arn]. Justus.Liebigs Ann.Chem 1972;756:177-180. View abstract.
  • Hardman JG, Limbird LL, Molinoff PB, eds. Goodman and Gillman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 9th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1996.
  • McChargue DE, Collins FL Jr, Cohen LM. Effect of non-nicotinic moist snuff replacement and lobeline on withdrawal symptoms during 48-h smokeless tobacco deprivation. Nicotine Tob Res 2002;4:195-200. View abstract.
  • Stead LF, Hughes JR. Lobeline for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2000;2:CD000124. View abstract.

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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.

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