botanical illustration of Lobelia inflata

Lobelia inflata

Parts used: above ground

Lobelia is an herb that is not often used, but when you need it, it’s a great herb to have it around!

I always have my students taste a little lobelia infusion, just so they can become familiar with its action and feel it for themselves. It’s very relaxing to the upper respiratory system and has an immediate interaction with the vital force. It’s a relaxant, respiratory stimulant, antispasmodic and emetic.

When I first tried lobelia, it reminded me of the feeling I got in my throat when I accidentally swallowed some chew spit (don’t judge me – I was young and working triple shifts, so I chewed a little tobacco to stay awake on my drive home – so glad I’m not 20 anymore, ha!) Your throat feels it immediately; the acrid action you get is followed by a very relaxed feeling in your respiratory system. It works great for asthma and irritating/spasmodic coughs that are present in the throat/upper respiratory area. It also relaxes the nerves and musculoskeletal system and has a diffusive action that stimulates circulation.

Lobelia is an herb you want to take in very measured doses. It is powerful medicine. I usually recommend about a teaspoon and wait 15 minutes to see how that works. If more is needed, take another teaspoonful. You don’t want to drink a cup of this tea, it will cause you to vomit, which was a popular use back in the Thomsonian days.

The easiest way to dose this out is by taking it in tincture form. That allows you to drop a few drops in a 3-4 ounces of water and drink a little at a time.

I needed to drink some today and was sure happy we had it ready. I got back from my walk down and up my driveway in the cold, and my chest was reacting and tightening up. I took a teaspoon of lobelia infusion and in under a minute, I could take a deep breath again. I also gave it to my hubby a couple of days ago when he was getting an irritating cough that was just in his throat. The cough was relieved, and he was able to take a deep breath again after just two doses.

Lobelia is a wonderful respiratory ally! And, you can’t overdose because if you get too much, it simply comes back up! 🙂

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image collage of Lobelia inflata showing close ups of the purple and white flowers