Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) can be found in the dry regions of the northern United States, Canada, and eastern Siberia. It is a member of the Campanulaceae family. The plant grows about 1 to 2 feet and supports pale, violet-blue flowers. The fresh and dried leaves and seeds can be used medicinally. The primary constituent of lobelia is alpha lobeline, which is distinguished from the other active mixture of lobelia alkaloids commonly called lobeline. Alpha lobeline exhibits effects on the peripheral circulation, neuromuscular system, and central nervous system. Lobeline stimulates respiration and may have expectorant activity. Lobelia has also demonstrated diuretic and purgative effects.
People have used lobelia for asthma, broncitis, cough, to in induce sweating and as a sedative. Lobelia is often found in smoking cessation products.
Lobelia is commonly known as Asthma weed, Bladderpod, Emetic herb, Gagroot, Indian tobacco, Pukeweed, and Wild tobacco.
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Cautions Orally, lobelia may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, dizziness, and tremors. An overdose of lobelia may cause sweating, convulsions, hypothermia, tachycardia, coma, and hypertension. Take only recommended dosage.