July 25, 2016

Forskolin

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What other names is Coleus known by?

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.

What is Coleus?

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.

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 to Rate Effectiveness 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.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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