Tag Archives: Lobelia

Lobelia inflata

Botanical Name : Lobelia inflata
Family: Campanulaceae
Subfamily: Lobelioideae
Genus:     Lobelia
Species: L. inflata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Asterales

Synonyms: Rapuntium inflatum. Indian-Tobacco. Pukeweed. Asthma Weed. Gagroot. Vomitwort. Bladderpod. Eyebright.

Common Names : Indian tobacco, Puke weed

Habitat:Lobelia inflata  occurs on dry places in the northern United States, Canada and Kamchatka. Grown in English gardens

Description:
Lobelia inflata is an annual or biennial herbaceous plant growing to 15–100 centimetres (5.9–39.4 in) tall, with stems covered in tiny hairs. Its leaves are usually about 8 centimetres (3.1 in) long, and are ovate and toothed. It has violet flowers that are tinted yellow on the inside, and usually appear in mid-summer and continue to bloom into fall. The odour is irritating, the taste, after chewing, very like that of tobacco, burning and acrid, causing a flow of saliva. The powder has a greenish colour, but that of the seeds is brown, and stains paper with grease.

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Lobelia inflata has a long use as an entheogenic and emetic substance. The plant was widely used by the Penobscots and was widely used in the New England even before the time of Samuel Thomson, who was credited as discovering it. Indian Tobacco, also known as “pukeweed”, is still used today. It can be used fresh, or dry.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in full sun or light shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Plants are usually annual, but are sometimes biennial. This species is occasionally cultivated commercially as a medicinal plant.

Propagation : Propagation is usually accomplished by cuttings or seed. Seeds are sown in containers in mid spring or mid fall. The seeds take about 2 weeks to germinate.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: The dried flowering herb, and seeds.

Constituents: The activity of Lobelia inflata is dependent upon a liquid alkaloid first isolated by Proctor in 1838 and named Lobeline. Pereira found a peculiar acid which he named Lobelic acid. Also, gum, resin, chlorophyl, fixed oil, lignin, salts of lime and potassium, with ferric oxide. Lobelacrine, formerly considered to be the acrid principle, is probably lobelate of lobeline. The seeds contain a much higher percentage of lobeline than the rest of the plant.

Uses:

Lobelia was a traditional Native American remedy and its use was later championed by the American herbalist Samuel Thomson (1769-1843), who made the herb the mainstay of his therapeutic system.  He mainly used it to induce vomiting.  It was promoted by Jethro Kloss and later by Dr. John Christopher.   A powerful antispasmodic and respiratory stimulant, lobelia is valuable for asthma, especially bronchial asthma, and chronic bronchitis.  It relaxes the muscles of the smaller bronchial tubes, thus opening the airways, stimulating breathing, and promoting the coughing up of phlegm.  In the Western tradition, lobelia has always been combined with cayenne, its hot stimulant action helping to push blood into areas that lobelia has relaxed.  Lobelia is often most effective when the infusion or diluted tincture is applied externally.  It relaxes muscles, particularly smooth muscle, which makes it useful for sprains, and back problems where muscle tension is a key factor.  Combined with cayenne, lobelia has been used as a chest and sinus rub.  Due to its chemical similarity to nicotine, lobelia is employed by herbalists to help patients give up smoking.  Lobeline sulphate has been part of commercial over-the-counter antismoking lozenges.  It seems to replace physical addiction to nicotine without its addictive effects.    The Native Americans smoked it like tobacco for respiratory problems and it gained the name Indian tobacco.  Both drinking the tea and smoking lobelia, usually with other herbs to modify its intense reaction, have been employed to treat asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough. Plasters and liniments for sprains, muscle spasms, and insect bites and poultices for breast cancer sometimes contain lobelia.

Expectorant, diaphoretic, anti-asthmatic. It should not be employed as an emetic. (Herbalists, who use lobelia far more than the ordinary practitioners, nearly always prescribe it in doses large enough to prove emetic, and regard it as of greater value thus used. – EDITOR.) Some authorities attach great value to it as an expectorant in bronchitis, others as a valuable counterirritant when combined with other ingredients in ointment form. It is sometimes given in convulsive and inflammatory disorders such as epilepsy, tetanus, diphtheria and tonsilitis. There is also difference of opinion with regard to its narcotic properties. Where relaxation of the system is required, as, for instance, to subdue spasm, Lobelia is invaluable. Relaxation can be counteracted by the stimulating and tonic infusion of capsicum. It may be used as an enema.

Externally, an infusion has been found useful in ophthalmia, and the tincture can be used as a local application for sprains, bruises, or skin diseases, alone, or in powder combined with an equal part of slippery elm bark and weak lye-water in a poultice. The oil of Lobelia is valuable in tetanus. One drop of oil triturated with one scruple of sugar, and divided into from 6 to 12 doses, is useful as an expectorant, nauseant, sedative, and diaphoretic, when given every one or two hours.

Other Uses:
It is also said that plant material is burned as a natural bug repellent to keep away insects such as mosquitoes. The plant has been burnt in order to smoke out gnats.

It contains lobeline.

Known Hazards :  Some reports say that the plant is poisonous, whilst another says that toxicity has not been established. It contains the alkaloid lobeline which has a similar effect upon the nervous system as nicotine. See also the notes below on medicinal uses. Do not use during pregnancy and lactation. Excessive use discouraged. Avoid if high blood pressure, tendency to fits and heart disease.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/lobeli38.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobelia_inflata

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lobelia+inflata

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lobelia+inflata

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Lobelia cardinalis

Botanical Name : Lobelia cardinalis
Family: Campanulaceae
Subfamily: Lobelioideae
Genus: Lobelia
Species: L. cardinalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name : Cardinal Flower

Habitat : Lobelia cardinalis is  native to the Americas, from southeastern Canada south through the eastern and southwestern United States, Mexico and Central America to northern Colombia.It  is found in wet places, streambanks, and swamps.

Description:
It is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows up to 1.2 m tall and  has bright red flowers.The leaves are up to 20 cm long and 5 cm broad, lanceolate to oval, with a toothed margin. The flowers are usually vibrant red, deeply five-lobed, up to 4 cm across; they are produced in an erect raceme up to 70 cm tall during the summer to fall. Forms with white (f. alba) and pink (f. rosea) flowers are also known…

 

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Lobelia cardinalis is related to two other Lobelia species in to the Eastern United States, Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco) and Lobelia siphilitica (Great Lobelia); all display the characteristic “lip” petal near the opening of the flower and the “milky” liquid the plant excretes. L. siphilitica has blue flowers and is pollinated by bees, whereas L. cardinalis is red and is pollinated by hummingbirds.

L. cardinalis has been known to cause an upset in the digestive system when consumed.

Cultivation :
This plant is easily propagated by dividing and spreading out the young plants which form around the older mature plants each year. Although the plant is generally considered a perennial any one plant may only live 7 to 10 years and then die. To ensure that your whole collection of cardinal flowers do not die off at the same time be sure to propagate some new plant lines using seeds at least every 4 years. Human activity also can interfere with the wildlife when getting the original seeds for your collection of “cardinal flowers”.Taking seeds or roots of lobelia cardinalis to start your collection will stunt the growth of the “cardinal flower” population. Along with red forms of bee balm this plant is a must if you want to attract hummingbirds. In the wild it is pollinated by the ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris).

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Layering in moist sand, it forms roots at the nodes.

Medicinal Uses:

Emetic, expectorant and nervine. The root is analgesic, anthelmintic, antispasmodic and stomachic. A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of epilepsy, syphilis, typhoid, stomach aches, cramps, worms etc. A poultice of the roots has been applied to sores that are hard to heal. The leaves are analgesic and febrifuge. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of croup, nosebleeds, colds, fevers, headaches etc. A poultice of the leaves has been applied to the head to relieve the pain of headache. This species is considered to have similar medicinal activity to L. inflata, but in a milder form. It was seldom if ever used. The plant is used to make a homeopathic remedy. The report does not say which part of the plant is used, nor what it treats.
North American indigenous peoples used root tea for a number of intestinal ailments and syphilis. Leaf teas were used by them for bronchial problems and colds, inter alia. The Meskwaki people used it as part of an inhalant against catarrh. Although not related to tobacco, it was apparently not smoked, but may have been chewed.  The plant contains a number of alkaloids. As a member of the genus Lobelia, it is considered to be potentially toxic..Native Americans (the Penobscot tribes) smoked the dried leaves as a substitute for tobacco. Lobelia may have potential as a drug for, or in study of, neurological disorders.

A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of epilepsy, syphilis, typhoid, stomach aches, cramps, worms etc. A poultice of the roots has been applied to sores that are hard to heal.  The leaves are analgesic and febrifuge. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of croup, nosebleeds, colds, fevers, headaches etc. A poultice of the leaves has been applied to the head to relieve the pain of headaches.

Known Hazards:  The plant is potentially toxic, but the degree of toxicity is unknown. It contains the alkaloid lobeline which has a similar effect upon the nervous system as nicotine. The sap of the plant has been known to cause skin irritation.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobelia_cardinalis
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=LOCA2&photoID=loca2_003_avp.tif

Lobelia chinensis

Botanical Name: Lobelia chinensis
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Lobelia
Species: L. chinensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name :Creeping Lobelia,Chinese Lobelia,Lobelia chinensis

Chinese  Name :Pinyin : ban bian lian

Habitat:Original native of China

Description:
Lobelia chinensis is a species of flowering plant in the family Campanulaceae. Growing Height: 2″-3″.  Small pink flowers all summer.
It is in hardy to zone 7.
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Cultivation:
Planting depth: Bog plant, not to be fully submerged. Thrives in full sun to partial shade. Works well in floating islands.

Chemical constituents:
Lobelia chinensis contains constituents including lobeline, lobelanine, isolobelanine, lobelanidine, and some chemical reactions of flavonoid, amino acid etc.

Medicinal uses;
It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.
It has a number of purported uses and folk remedies that include treatment for inflammation, scurvy and fever. A tea made from the stem and leaves can be made to act as a diuretic. Moreover, it also has certain astringent properties and uses.

Click to see : Cadmium and Other Metal Uptake by Lobelia chinensis and Solanum nigrum from Contaminated Soils  :


Other Uses:
This can be grown as cute little ground cover .It makes a darling groundcover of tiny leaves, topped all summer with miniature pink, lobelia-like flowers.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.callutheran.edu/gf/plants/category/gar-4463.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobelia_chinensis
http://www.watergarden.org/Pond-Supplies/Floating-Island-Bog-Plants/Chinese-Lobelia
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Lobelia_chinensis
http://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Plants/Lobelia-chinensis.html

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