LOBELIA MAY BE HELPFUL FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO QUIT SMOKING, BUT THERE ARE SOME RISK FACTORS
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Lobelia Herb - Uses And Side Effects
Because lobelia has nicotine-like effects, some people have used it to help them stop smoking. Lobelia comes primarily from the dried leaves and tops of Lobelia inflata.
Common doses of lobelia
Lobelia comes as:
- capsules (395 milligrams)
- tablets (2 milligrams)
- lozenges (1 milligram)
Some experts recommend the following dose:
- As a smoking deterrent, 0.5 to 2 milligrams in tablets or lozenges. The usual dose is 2 milligrams taken orally after each meal with 1/2 glass of water for no more than 6 weeks. Oral doses up to 8 milligrams have been used but caused significant stomach upset. Daily oral doses of beline (an alkaloid in the herb) exceeding 20 milligrams are considered poisonous.
Uses of lobelia
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. Specifically, lobelia may help to :-
Side effects of lobelia
Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of lobelia:
- fluid retention
- nausea and vomiting (with higher doses)
- severe heartburn
- stomach pain
Lobelia also may cause:
- death (from respiratory depression and respiratory muscle paralysis)
- increased blood pressure
- respiratory slowing (with high doses) or stimulation (with low doses)
- slow pulse
Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Don't use lobelia while taking drugs used for nicotine therapy.
Important points to remember
- Don't use lobelia if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.
- Don't give this herb to children.
- Be aware that an overdose of lobeline (an alkaloid in lobelia) causes such symptoms as an irregular heartbeat, extreme sweating, dizziness (from low blood pressure), muscle twitching, seizures, chills, and coma.
- If you have liver or kidney problems, check with your health care practitioner before using this herb.
- To help stop smoking, medical experts recommend smoking cessation programs, counseling, behavior modification, nicotine replacement, and other drugs instead of Lobelia.
- Don't use any product containing lobeline for more than 6 weeks because researchers have no information about long-term use.
What the research shows
Because it's similar to nicotine, lobeline, an alkaloid in lobelia, has been used to help people stop smoking. However, no longterm data are available and no clinical trials have been done. Lobeline can cause more serious side effects than other smoking cessation treatments. Therefore, medical experts don't recommend it.
Other names for lobelia : -
Other names for lobelia include asthma weed, bladderpod, cardinal flower, eyebright, gagroot, great lobelia, Indian pink, Indian tobacco, pukeweed, rapuntium inflatum, and vomitwort.
Products containing lobelia are sold under such names as Bantron Tablets, Lobelia Capsules, Lobelia Extract, Lobeline Lozenges, and Lobidram Computabs.
Benefits, Therapeutic Uses and Claims of Lobelia Inflata
- Lobelia inflata was used in the 19th century as a medicinal herb to induce womiting as a mean to remove harmful toxis from the body, which explains one of its name "puke weed."
- Lobeline is a piperidine alkaloid found in lobelia and gives rise to the therapeutic claims surrounding this herb. It is though to stimulate the the respiratory center of the brain resulting in deeper and stronger breathing At a non toxic dose, lobelia is thought to be of value as an herbal remedy for treating bronchitis and whooping cough. Lobelia inflata is a bronchodilator and antispasmodic which explains its popularity as a medicinal herb for asthma, spasmodic croup and pneumonia.
- Lobelia is often considered a herb that is useful for tobacco withdrawal and as an herbal remedy to quit smoking. While there is no information that consolidates this view, historically, lobelia has been used as an alternative to tobacco. Lobeline is also believed to have a similar chemical action to nicotine and this too could give reasoning behind its use in tobacco withdrawal. However, it is vital to note that this herb can have risks that outweigh its benefits and has been known to cause vomiting, dizziness, hypothermia, convulsions and even death.
Recommended dosage of Lobelia are as follows:
Fluid extract – 1:1 ratio in 50% alcohol is 0.2-0.6ml three times daily
Dried Herb – 0.2-0.6gr three times daily
These doses must be discussed with your health care practitioner before commencing use.
Side Effects and Possible Interactions of Lobelia Inflata
Extreme care should be used when using any medication to control asthma and Lobelia inflata is no exception. It is essential to consult your health care professional when altering medications and to thoroughly investigate how medications may interact with each other.
Lobelia inflata is known to be toxic at relatively low doses and in some countries this herb is scheduled, meaning its sale is restricted. Some practitioners argue that if lobelia could be produced in standardised form, where Lobeline is at a guaranteed dose, then this herb would be safer to prescribe.
Toxic doses of lobelia will give rise to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, convulsions and can be fatal. Lobelia should be used only under the guidance of a qualified herbalist experienced in the use of this herb.
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