The lobelia plant goes by a number of names that might turn you off, such as puke weed, gagroot, and vomitwort. But that doesn’t mean this herb doesn’t have some potential health benefits, too. Despite its nicknames, it’s possible that using the lobelia herb could help you reach your health goals. For example, research shows that a lobelia supplement or topical treatment derived from lobelia could help provide support for a healthy respiratory system and healthy-looking skin, as well as some other health concerns.
But first, let’s address the nicknames. The lobelia plant is associated with throwing up and gagging because it was used as a medicinal herb in the 19th century to induce vomiting after consuming anything that could be harmful to the body. Since there is no sufficient evidence to support that antiquated theory, this herb is no longer used to make people throw up. However, keep in mind that using too much lobelia could result in nausea or vomiting, and it can also cause diarrhea in people who already suffer from gastrointestinal sensitivity.
As recently as the 1990s, lobelia was used as an ingredient in some tobacco cessation products. While it still can be found in stop smoking aids, it is no longer used in these products in the United States as there is insufficient medical evidence to support its use as an aid to quit smoking.
That hasn’t stopped people from relying on lobelia when they decide to quit using tobacco. In some circles, lobelia is known as Indian tobacco because it has a similar taste to tobacco and it may react similarly to nicotine in the body. Sometimes people rely on this herb to help break their addiction, even though evidence suggests that it may not work.
Why Use Lobelia?
So, now you might be wondering, what can lobelia do for you? The good news is, it can provide quite a few potential health benefits, especially for people who suffer from respiratory issues. For example:
- Lobelia has long been used as an expectorant, which means it can help cleanse your respiratory tract and lungs if mucus has built up in your system. This has made it attractive to people seeking additional support for respiratory challenges.
- Lobelia may also help relax the lungs and act as a bronchodilator. This means it may help to stimulate the respiratory system and relax the lungs if they are overworked.
- According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, when applied to the skin, lobelia may help ease muscle spasms. Historically, lobelia has also been used for insect bites, bruises, and skin rashes, but evidence is not well established for these uses.
- In some larger quantities, lobelia may be able to help ease feelings of nervousness or anxiety. However, it’s important to consult a doctor before using lobelia in this way, as it can cause unpleasant side effects in some people, especially when used in larger doses.
If any of these potential health benefits align with your personal health goals, you might want to consider trying lobelia. At Natural Healthy Concepts, we offer a variety of lobelia extracts, tonics, and supplements that could help clear congestion, ease muscle pain, or calm your nerves.
However, it’s important that when using lobelia you follow directions closely and never take more than the recommended dose. When taken by mouth, some people experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, or other side effects. Just like other tinctures, oils, and supplements, you should talk to your doctor about using lobelia, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffering from a chronic health condition.
If you’ve already started using lobelia, we’d love to hear from you! What products do you like? Do you have any tips to share? If so, use the comments section below!