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Tobacco Indian

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  • Botanical: Lobelia inflata
  • Family: Lobelioideae
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Tobacco Indian

Botanical

Lobelia inflata

Family

Lobelioideae

Known as

tabak, lobelia, bladderpod, emetic herb, emetic weed, gagroot, vomitroot, vomitwort, pukeweed, wild tobacco, asthma weed, bladderpod, eyebright

Old Use

medicinal

Collection Times

Summer

Parts Used

herb, leaves

Aroma

warm

Medicinal

asthma, bronchitis, bronchitis, coughs, cramps, diarrhea, respiratory

Heart & Circulation

angina

Muscle & Joints

muscle cramps, muscle pain, rheumatism

Mind & Nerves

epilepsy, migraine, neuralgia

Respiratory System

asthma, bronchitis, cough, hiccups, pertussis, respiratory, whooping cough

Stomach & Intestinal

emetic

Properties

antispasmodic, antirheumatic, anti inflammatory, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, relaxant

Description

It 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

Properties & Uses

Indian Tobacco was a traditional North American Indian remedy for a wide range of conditions. Nowadays it is used mainly as a powerful antispasmodic herb in the treatment of respiratory and muscle disorders. Acting also as a respiratory stimulant, Indian Tobacco is a valuable remedy for conditions such as bronchial asthma and chronic bronchitis. The dried flowering herb and the seed are antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant and nervine. The plant is taken internally in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough and pleurisy. The plant contains the alkaline 'lobeline' which has proved to be of value in helping people to give up smoking tobacco. It is contained in many proprietary anti-smoking mixtures where it mimics the effects of nicotine. The alkaloids present in the leaves are used to stimulate the removal of phlegm from the respiratory tract. The alkaloids first act as a stimulant and then as a depressive to the autonomic nervous system and in high doses paralyses muscular action in the same way as curare. Externally, the plant is used in treating pleurisy, rheumatism, tennis elbow, whiplash injuries, boils and ulcers. 

Other Uses

The plant has been burnt in order to smoke out gnats

Cautions

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

Distribution

Northern N. America - Labrador to Saskatchewan, Georgia, Kansas and Arkansas.

Constituents

Nicotine, lobelanine, lobelanidine, triterpene ester beta-amyrin palmitate, polyacetylenes

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.