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.
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.
Possibly Ineffective for...
- Smoking cessation. Most research suggests that taking lobeline, a chemical found in lobelia, does not help people quit smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Use on the skin for muscle soreness, bruises, sprains, insect bites, poison ivy, ringworm, and other conditions.
- Other conditions.
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).
Lobelia is considered LIKELY 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 LIKELY 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.
LithiumInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
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.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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.
Lopez, R., Martinez-Burnes, J., Vargas, G., Loredo, J., Medellin, J., and Rosiles, R. Taxonomical, clinical and pathological findings in moradilla (Lobelia-like) poisoning in sheep. Vet.Hum.Toxicol. 1994;36(3):195-198. 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.
Mazur, L. J., De, Ybarrondo L., Miller, J., and Colasurdo, G. Use of alternative and complementary therapies for pediatric asthma. Tex.Med 2001;97(6):64-68. 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.
Philipov, S., Istatkova, R., Ivanovska, N., Denkova, P., Tosheva, K., Navas, H., and Villegas, J. Phytochemical study and antiinflammatory properties of Lobelia laxiflora L. Z.Naturforsch.C. 1998;53(5-6):311-317. 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.
Sopranzi, N., De, Feo G., Mazzanti, G., and Braghiroli, L. [The biological and electrophysiological parameters in the rat chronically treated with Lobelia inflata L.]. Clin.Ter. 5-31-1991;137(4):265-268. 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.