Lobelia inflata Linn

Family ► Campanulaceae; Lobeli-

Habitat ► Native to eastern United States; imported into India.

English ► Indian Tabacco, Pukeweed.

Action ► Antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, broncho-dilator, expectorant, mild sedative and relaxant. Used as a tabacco deterrent (as a major ingredient in many antismoking mixtures).

Key application ► In the treatment of asthma, bronchitis. (German Commission E.) As respiratory stimulant. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

Lobelia contains piperidine alkaloids, mainly lobeline, with lobelanine, lobelanidine, norlobelanine, isolobi-nine. Lobeline stimulates respiration in animals by stimulating respiratory centre and at high doses stimulates the vomiting centre.

Lobeline has similar but less potent pharmacological properties to nicotine but 1/20-1/5 as potent.

Lobeline (0.5%) has also been used as an active ingredient in skin-lightening preparations.

Clinical research could not demonstrate lobeline efficacy greater than placebo in smoking cessation. It was disallowed as an ingredient in antismoking products in the US in 1993. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)

The leaves contain beta-amyrin pal-mitate which possesses sedative and antidepressant properties comparable to the antidepressant drug mianserin. Methanolic extract of leaves exhibited antidepressant activity

Lobelia leschenaultina (Persl) Skottsb.

The leaf powder is toxic at 0.6-1.0 , (Francis Brinker.)

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