Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 StarsReliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 StarsContradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 StarFor an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Refer to label instructions
Eclectic physicians—doctors in turn-of-the-century North America who used herbs as their main medicine—considered lobelia to be one of the most important plant medicines.3 Traditionally, it was used by Eclectics to treat coughs and spasms in the lungs from all sorts of causes.4 A plant that originates in Africa, khella, is also considered an anti-spasmodic like lobelia. Though it is not strong enough to stop acute asthma attacks, khella has been recommended by German physicians practicing herbal medicine as possibly helpful for chronic asthma symptoms.5
Refer to label instructions
Lobelia contains many active alkaloids, of which lobeline is considered the most active. Very small amounts of this herb are considered helpful as an antispasmodic and antitussive agent (a substance that helps suppress or ease coughs). Anti-inflammatory properties of the herb have been demonstrated, which may be useful, since bronchitis is associated with inflammation in the bronchi.6 Lobelia should be used cautiously, as it may cause nausea and vomiting.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Refer to label instructions
Mullein is classified in the herbal literature as both an expectorant, to promote the discharge of mucus, and a demulcent, to soothe and protect mucous membranes. Historically, mullein has been used as a remedy for the respiratory tract, particularly in cases of irritating coughs with bronchial congestion.7 Other herbs commonly used as expectorants in traditional medicine include elecampane, lobelia, yerba santa (Eriodictyon californicum),wild cherry bark, gumweed (Grindelia robusta),anise(Pimpinella anisum), and eucalyptus. Animal studies have suggested that some of these herbs increase discharge of mucus.8 However, none have been studied for efficacy in humans.
Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), also known as Indian tobacco, contains a substance (lobeline) that has some effects on the nervous system that are similar to the effects of nicotine,9 and preliminary reports suggested that pure lobeline or lobelia herb could be used to support smoking cessation.10, 11However, results in preliminary human trials with lobeline have been mixed and generally negative and no long-term controlled studies of lobeline or lobelia for smoking cessation have been done.12, 13
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
Eclectic physicians, early North American doctors who used herbs as their primary medicine, considered lobelia to be one of the most important medicinal plants.1 It was used by Eclectics to treat coughs and spasms in the lungs from varying causes, as well as spasms elsewhere in the body, including the intestines and ureters (passages from the kidney to the bladder).2 Lobelia was also considered a useful pain reliever and in higher amounts was used to induce vomiting in people who had been poisoned.
How It Works
How It Works
The alkaloid lobeline is responsible for most of lobelia’s actions. Lobeline has been used as a traditional herbal approach to help people stop smoking. Results of human trials using lobeline for smoking cessation have been mixed and generally negative.14 Preliminary trials suggest lobeline may improve lung function, perhaps by its abilities to reduce bronchial constriction and to thin mucus so that it can be coughed out.15
How to Use It
Eclectic physicians generally recommended using a tincture of lobelia made partially or entirely with vinegar instead of alcohol.16 A vinegar extract is known as an acetract. At most, 1 ml was given three times per day. The absolute maximum amount to take should be that which causes no, or minimal, nausea. Lobelia ointment has also been used topically on the chest to relieve asthma and bronchitis. People should apply such ointments liberally several times per day.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.
Interactions with Medicines
As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
Lobelia frequently causes nausea and vomiting when the amount used is too high. Generally, more than 1 ml of tincture or acetract taken at one time will cause nausea and possibly vomiting and should be avoided.17 Although lobelia has a reputation for being toxic, a thorough review of the medical literature was unable to find any well-documented case of serious problems or death due to lobelia.18 This may be because a toxic amount cannot be ingested without first causing vomiting. Signs of lobelia poisoning may include weakness, heartburn, weak pulse, difficulty breathing, and collapse.19 Nevertheless, lobelia should not be used for more than one month consecutively and should be avoided during pregnancy and breast-feeding.20 Due to its emetic (vomit-inducing) actions, lobelia should be used cautiously with children under the age of six years.
The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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