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Amber's Organics LLC Medical Herb Seed A-Z > Lobelia, Official.
Lobelia, Official.

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BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—Lobelia is an annual herb growing in dry fields and pasture grounds and woodland pastures. In dry sunny places it attains a height of a few inches to a foot or two, the usual height in pasture lands being about a foot. In shady, rich soil, however, it is more luxuriant, growing two or three feet and becoming more slender and fewer branched. The plant flowers in August continuing until frost into September. When the time to flower arrives, each plant begins to bloom, no matter what its height or size. Often plants will be found in bloom only an inch or two high, and only bearing three or four small leaves and as many terminal flowers.


Lobelia Herb (Lobelia inflata ) often called Asthma weed or Puke weed has been used for centuries as a mild expectorant. The Lobelia herb is named after botanist Matthias de Lobel who died in London in 1616. It has been used in preparations designed to lessen one's desire for nicotine. Externally it is used as an infusion of Lobelia can be used to treat ophthalmic disorders, and the tincture is used as a topical for sprains, bruises, or skin diseases. It has been suggested that Lobelia may reduce cravings and nervousness associated with smoking withdrawal.


Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), also called Indian tobacco, has a long history of use in connection with respiratory ailments, such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and coughs. Lobelia was a common herb prescribed by early North American doctors.

Lobeline, an active constituent in the lobelia plant, is very similar to nicotine in its effect on the central nervous system. Lobeline acts as a relaxant overall while also dilating the bronchioles (air passages), thereby increasing respiration and possibly helping the lungs. Its anti-asthma activity consists of stimulating the adrenal glands to release the hormone epinephrine, which causes the airways to relax.

Medicinal Indications of Lobelia

Lobelia is used in connection with the following conditions and/or their symptoms:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Symptoms of smoking withdrawal
  • Spastic colon
  • Spastic muscle conditions

Lobelia may also be used externally in connection with diseases of the muscles, joints, and tendons that involve inflammation and degeneration.

Forms of Lobelia Herb

Lobelia is available in the following forms for internal use:

  • Dried herb
  • Liquid extract
  • Tinctures

Lobelia is also available in the following forms for external topical application:

  • Ointments
  • Lotions
  • Suppositories
  • Plasters

Therapy should begin with the use of lower dosages and increase depending upon the individual's response.

Dosage and Administration

The following are recommended adult doses:

  • Dried herb (infusion or decoction): ¼ to ½ tsp herb in 8 oz of water, preferably mixed with other herbs; steep 30 to 40 minutes. Take 2 oz four times per day. (This method is not preferred because of lobelia's acrid taste.) The following are recommended adult doses:
  • Liquid extract (1:1 in 50 alcohol): 0.2 to 0.6 mL three times per day
  • Tincture of lobelia: 0.6 to 2.0 mL per day

Adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 to 25 kg), the appropriate dose of lobelia for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage

50 seeds.