Lobelia is named after French Botanist Matthias de L'Obel (1583-1616). The plant is a member of the Lobeliaceae Family and is native to the Northeastern United States and Canada. There are over 350 different species of Lobelia spanning the globe. The herb native to the Northeastern US (Lobelia inflata) was also commonly referred to as Indian tobacco, Asthma Weed, and Vomitwort. It has a long history of use medicinally and was regularly imported into England from the US as a nursery species and a medicinal plant. Lobelia has a history of use supporting respiratory health. Lobelia contains several alkaloids that appear to provide some nicotine-like stimulation during smoking cessation. Clinical trials with one isolated alkaloid, lobeline, showed mixed results in people trying to stop smoking. Lobelia itself is the preferred form as it is much less likely to cause nausea than the isolated chemical lobeline. Also, it is likely the combination of constituents results in its effects. Lobelia is considered a potentially toxic herb. It can be safely used in small doses (particularly homeopathic doses), but moderate-to-large doses may cause side effects ranging from dry mouth and nausea to convulsions and even coma (see Precautions). Lobelia should be used under the supervision of a qualified health care practioner. Check with your health care practioner to determine the right dose for you, and do not exceed your health care practioner's recommended dose.
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