Habitat: Plectranthus barbatus is found in lower elevation of India, but now this pland grown around the world as an ornamental plant.
Plectranthus barbatus is a big, honking, perennial specimen plant, totally easy & fast, to about 5’ tall. Related to Coleus, it has large, soft, toothed leaves held on thick, upright, branching stems. From Fall to late Spring, it bears large (10”), upright spikes of rich, purple-blue, long lasting blooms. The flowers emerge from fascinating buds that look like condensed “Chinese Houses.”
Tisanes made from Plectranthus barbatus contains rosmarinic acid and also flavonoid glucuronides and diterpenoids. The chemical constituents of Plectranthus barbatus showed interesting activities in vitro, such as antioxidant activity and acetylcholinesterase inhibition.
Forskolin, a chemical found in coleus, activates the enzyme adenylate cyclase. This enzyme is a turnkey compound that initiates a cascade of critical events within every cell of the body. Adenylate cyclase and the chemicals it activates comprise a “second messenger” system that is responsible for carrying out the complex and powerful effects of hormones in the body.
Stimulation of the second messenger system by forskolin leads to blood vessel dilation, inhibition of allergic reactions, and an increase in thyroid hormone secretion. Forskolin has other properties as well, including inhibition of the pro-inflammatory substance known as platelet-activating factor (PAF) and inhibition of the spread of cancer cells.
Studies in healthy humans, including at least one double-blind trial, have shown that direct application of an ophthalmic preparation of forskolin to the eyes lowers eye pressure, thus reducing the risk of glaucoma. Direct application of the whole herb to the eyes has not been studied and is not recommended.
Forskolin may help dilate blood vessels and improve the forcefulness with which the heart pumps blood. A preliminary trial found that forskolin-reduced blood pressure and improved heart function in people with cardiomyopathy. It is unknown if oral coleus extracts would have the same effect. A small double-blind trial found that inhaled forskolin could decrease lung spasms in asthmatics. It is unclear if oral ingestion of coleus extracts will provide similar benefits.
As recorded in ancient Sanskrit texts, coleus was used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat heart and lung diseases, intestinal spasms, insomnia, and convulsions. It is widely used as a domestic mild medicine in South America among both urban and rural developments, sometimes confused with the native plant with similar properties but different uses, boldo.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider