Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), Indian Tobacco, Puke weed
Main Facts about Lobelia
It is an erect annual or biennial herb, 1 to 2 feet high. The flowers are light purplish blue or white with pointy oval leaves that are hairy underneath, and golden papery bag-like seed pods. The main parts used are the flowering parts and the seeds. The seeds are the most potent because they contain lobeline, a piperidine alkaloid.
Using LobeliaNative Americans used lobelia to treat respiratory and muscle disorders, and as a purgative. Leaves taste like tobacco and contains a non-addictive nicotine-like substance called Lobeline, so chewing them helps people quit smoking. Lobelia has a paradoxical effect. It first stimulates and then depress the autonomic nervous system. Small doses can ease nausea and vomiting, while large doses cause it. It has been called "the intelligent herb" because it seems to whatever is necessary to promote healing in the body. Lobelia is a healing sedative used for anxiety and panic attacs, and also relaxes bronchials, making it good for asthma, bronchitis, cough, and epilepsy. It eases muscle tension and increases blood and lymph flow. This can be very helpful for easing any kind of cramping pain, including muscle cramps, menstrual cramps, intestinal gripe (cramping pains in the digestive tract) and constricted breathing. Lobelia increases the effect of other herbs. Be careful if taking medication. Used to treat epilepsy, convulsions, hysteria, trauma, tetanus. It is said Indians gave this to arguing couples so they would get along again.
Caution!Begin with lower dosages and increase gradually, depending upon response. Potentially toxic.
Cooking with LobeliaLobelia is available in liquid extracts, tinctures, and as a dried herb in capsules and for teas. Whole plant is edible. Seeds have most powerful effect. Lobelia is a potentially toxic herb. It can be safely used in small doses.
How to grow LobeliaLobelias prefer part to full sun, rich, moist soil, much water. Short-lived seed. Light dependent germinators.Seeds are sown in containers in mid spring or mid fall. The seeds take about 2 weeks to germinate Water very gently.