Lobelia: The Most Powerful And Versatile Herb

In our previous article, we learned about the impressive health benefits of Echinacea on immunity, anxiety, inflammation, skin health and blood sugar. Just as beneficial as Echinacea, we explained why you should try using Lobelia. But before we explore this further, let’s tackle first its history, and how it was introduced to people as herbal medicine.

The History:

Lobelia is one of the many flowering plants used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. It derives its name from a botanist Matthias de Lobel from Lille, Belgium. Lobel died in 1616. 

The health benefits of Lobelia were already known and extensively used by Penobscot Indians. However, it was Samuel Thompson who made the herb’s medicinal properties well-known, after successfully discovering its benefits. Samuel Thompson was one of the great 18th-century herbalists. It was then used professionally by Cutler of Massachusetts.

Native Americans used to smoke lobelia to treat asthma. Moreover, it was also prescribed by doctors to induce vomiting.

Lobelia only grows up to 5 inches tall, with the exception of some varieties that can grow up to 3 feet tall. It comes in different colors such as white, pink, blue and red. However, violet-blue Lobelia is the most common and usually seen. They enjoy cool weather but also bloom in summer. It can possibly grow anywhere, even in hanging containers. Lobelia inflata is the name with most medicinal purposes.

Here’s Why You Should Try Using Lobelia

  1. Lobelia has a beneficial effect on people suffering from asthma and other respiratory disorders. 

Lobeline, an active compound found in Lobelia, stimulates breathing, relaxes your airways,  and clears away mucus from your lungs. Therefore, it has the ability to treat asthma attack symptoms like chest tightness, wheezing and uncontrollable coughing. Moreover, it also literally takes the load off one’s chest for people suffering the symptoms of pneumonia and bronchitis.

  1. Lobelia can protect you against depression.

Lobeline found in the Lobelia plant has the ability to block specific receptors in the brain that trigger mood disorders like depression. 

  1. Lobelia can help manage Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A human study with ADHD showed that adding  30 mg of lobeline to traditional medications per day improved concentration and memory over a week. Therefore, Lobeline has the ability to beneficially effect the release of dopamine in your brain that can relieve ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity and concentration.

  1. It is a potential treatment for drug abuse.

Studies showed that lobeline has beneficial effects on treating drug addiction in a way that can bring a message to brain receptors in charge of releasing neurotransmitters that cause drug addiction.

  1. It can be used as an antioxidant.

Free radicals can damage cells in our body that can cause cancer and heart disease. In order to fight free radicals, we need antioxidants. Antioxidants can be found in certain types of lobelia like Lobelia cardinalis which has alkaloid lobeline- the specific compound that will serve as an antioxidant.

How To Grow Lobelia

Lobelia is considered one of those easy-to-grow plants, requiring very little effort or upkeep. This makes it a real asset to your garden.


  1. The best time to plant it is in springtime when the danger of frost is gone.
  2.  It can possibly be grown directly in the garden or inside your house as long as it can still get full sun or partial shade.
  3. It prefers moist, rich soil, so watering regularly is a good idea.
  4.  Put it in a warm and well-lit place.
  5. From indoors, if the plants are at least 2-3 inches tall, you can transplant them to your garden with 4-6 inches of spacing.
  6. Once the lobelia plant is settled, it only requires small amounts of maintenance.
  7. In hot and dry weather, you should water it frequently, especially if it is in a containers. If desired, you can add fertilizers once a month.

The Bottom Line

Lobelia has hundreds of species, including Lobelia inflata, the most commonly used for health purposes such as aiding asthma, stress, depression, and drug abuse. Some studies show a beneficial effect on different health problems because of its active compound called Lobeline. It is indeed considered as one of the MOST POWERFUL and VERSATILE herbs.  If you are interested in taking lobelia products, it is also conveniently available online.

While we are in the subject of one of the most powerful and versatile herbs, our next blog will talk about ginseng. Let’s dig more on the health benefits of ginseng as it is commonly known for its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects.

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