Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)

Historically, Lobelia was used to treat coughs and spasms in the lungs from varying causes, as well as spasms elsewhere in the body, including the intestines and ureters. Lobelia was also considered a useful pain reliever and was used to induce vomiting at higher doses poisoning cases.

Lobeline, the active ingredient, has been used as a traditional herbal approach to help people stop smoking, but results of human trials using lobeline have been generally negative. Preliminary trials suggest lobeline may improve lung function, perhaps by its abilities to reduce bronchial constriction and to thin mucus.

The general recommendation is to use a tincture of lobelia made with vinegar (called an acetract) instead of alcohol. One ml TID is the highest recommended dose. This dose or more can cause nausea and vomiting. A toxic dose may be difficult to keep down – and so toxicity is somewhat self-limiting. However, because of potential harm it should be used only under professional guidance.





Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with one teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted. The high doses of single herbs suggested may be best taken as dried extracts (in capsules), although tinctures (60 drops four times per day) and teas (4 to 6 cups per day) may also be used.


An alcohol or water-alcohol solution, usually referring to a preparation from herbal materials.


Three times a day.


Symptoms resulting from an inclination to vomit.

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