Botanical Name: Coleus forskohlii (Plectranthus barbatus)

Common Name: Coleus

Family: Lamiaceae

 

Description of Coleus Plant/Habitat:

Coleus (Plectranthus barbatus) is a small perennial member of the mint family which can be found growing in subtropical areas in India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand and Sri Lanka. It has tuberous roots and bright green leaves and has a distinctly camphor-like aroma.

 

Part(s) used:

Root

 

Key Active Components:

Tisanes, rosmarinic acid, labdane diterpenoids (forskolin), essential oils.

 

Coleus Properties:

  • Coleus forskolin has shown antioxidant activity and acetylcholinesterase inhibition
  • Coleus forskolin increases cAMP. Higher levels of cAMP are associated with increased fat loss in research studies.

 

Coleus Taste/Character/Energetics:

Pungent, cooling but neutral energy

 

Summary of Actions:

 

Primary Actions:  positive ionotrope (increases forceful contraction), antispasmodic (relaxing), anti-platelet aggregant (A fib), vasodilator (relaxing)

Secondary Actions:  anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, insulin modulator

 

Medicinal Use:

Traditional

  • Coleus is an ayurvedic herb that balances the three doshas, used for centuries as a premier herb to improve circulation and reduce inflammatory pathways

Cardiovascular

  • Inhibits platelet activity, decreasing the risk of blood clotting
  • Increases the force of the contraction of heart muscle improving heart function
  • Reduces blood pressure in hypertension without reducing contractility

Musculoskeletal

  • Works as an antispasmodic in tissues
  • Reduces colic and cramping in GI and Urinary systems
  • Reduces bronchospasm through nervous system relaxation of smooth muscle
  • Anti-inflammatory indicated in joint swelling (rheumatism)

Immune

  • Reduces stimulation of histamine in allergic reactions
  • Inhibits the melanoma-induced platelet aggregation, and tumor colonization
  • Increases secretion of thyroid hormone
  • Improves fat metabolism and insulin modulation
  • Specific use for glaucoma when applied topically, decreasing intraocular pressure by reducing the flow of aqueous humor

 

Specific Indications:

  • Glaucoma- topically
  • Clotting issues
  • Hypertension
  • Heart function
  • Thyroid function
  • Rheumatic conditions
  • Asthma

 

Coleus Safety:

Theoretical additive effect when combined with hypotensive medications or blood thinners

 

Preparation and Dosage:

Tincture (1:3): 3-5 ml twice per day to three times per day

Infusion: 2-3 cups/day

Powdered: 200-400 mg twice per day

 

Are you interested in reading about more herbs? Click here to check out more articles!

 

References:

Frank, K., Patel, K., Lopez, G., & Willis, B. (2019). Coleus forskohlii Research AnalysisExamine.com. Retrieved 14 May 2020, from https://examine.com/supplements/coleus-forskohlii/ 

Forskolin versus Sodium Cromoglycate for Prevention of Asthma Attacks: A Single-blinded Clinical Trial – R González-Sánchez, X Trujillo, B Trujillo-Hernández, C Vásquez, M Huerta, A Elizalde, 2006. (2020). Journal Of International Medical Research. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/147323000603400210

Godard, M., Johnson, B., & Richmond, S. (2005). Body Composition and Hormonal Adaptations Associated with Forskolin Consumption in Overweight and Obese Men. Obesity Research13(8), 1335-1343. doi:10.1038/oby.2005.162 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/oby.2005.162 

Loftus, H., Astell, K., Mathai, M., & Su, X. (2015). Coleus forskohlii Extract Supplementation in Conjunction with a Hypocaloric Diet Reduces the Risk Factors of Metabolic Syndrome in Overweight and Obese Subjects: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients7(11), 9508-9522. doi:10.3390/nu7115483 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4663611/