Lobelia inflata, Campanulaceae. The aerial parts of the plant are used.

The whole plant above the ground should be collected at the end of the flowering time in late summer and early autumn. The seed pods should be collected as well.

Functions of lobelia

Lobelia is a very useful systemic relaxant. It has a general depressant action on the central and autonomic nervous system and on neuromuscular action. It:

  • can be used in many conditions in combinations with other herbs to further their effectiveness if relaxation is needed.
  • is a primary specific for bronchitic asthma and bronchitis. An analysis of the action of the alkaloids present in the herb reveals an apparently paradoxical effect. Lobeline is a powerful respiratory stimulant, whilst isolobelanine is an emetic and respiratory relaxant. This will stimulate catarrhal secretion whist relaxing the respiratory muscles.

Notes on lobelia

  • Although the toxicity of this herb has not been established, the presence of the nicotine-like alkaloid, lobeline, has led to its control under the 1968 Medicines Act in the UK. It is not permitted to be sold to the general public.
  • For the treatment of asthma it will combine well with cayenne pepper, grindelia, sundew and ephedra.


Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1/4-1/2 teaspoonful of the dried leaves and leave to infuse for 10 - 15minutes. A cup of this tea should be drunk in the morning and evening, or when needed.

Tincture: take 1/2-1 ml of the tincture three times per day.


Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.




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