The Plant Coleus Forskohlii - Side Effects and Benefits

Published: 05th July 2007
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Botanical Name: Coleus forskohlii

Other Common Names: Coleous, Makandi.

Habitat: Coleus is a hardy plant, growing on the dry slopes of the lower Himalayas and the plains in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India, it. However, coleus has long been cultivated in India and Thailand, including other parts of South East Asia.

Description:Coleus is a member of the Lamiaceae family, more commonly known as the mint family. Plants in this group have a stem that is square in shape and are usually extremely fragrant due to their large amounts of essential oil. Coleus is a fleshy, perennial herb, which has an aroma similar to camphor; its spiked flowers are typical of the mint family. Unlike other Lamiaceae herbs; the principal part used medicinally is coleus' pale fibrous roots.

Plant Parts Used: The Root.

Therapeutic Uses of Coleus forskohlii, Benefits and Claims

* Coleus is a not a particularly remarkable plant to look at, yet is has a 3000 year history in Ayurvedic medicine and is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts as a tonic for healthy heart and lungs.

* Today, coleus is not just a herb for cardiovascular ailments but is increasingly being used to assist weight loss by breaking down adipose tissue and preventing production of fatty tissue. In addition, coleus mildly stimulates the metabolism by increasing thyroid hormones and increases the secretion of insulin. These therapeutic indications for coleus are due to its principal active compound, a diterpenoid called forskolin. This is the only plant derived compound known to directly stimulate the enzyme, adenlylate cyclase, and in turn, stimulates cellular cyclic AMP which boosts our metabolism.

* Coleus forskohlii preparations used as eye drops are known to reduce eye pressure in glaucoma.

* Like all good tonics, coleus directly stimulates digestion and is thought to assist in the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine.

* Increased cellular cyclic AMP reduces histamine, making coleus beneficial in the treatment of allergies. Coleus is also a bronchodilator with an anti-histamine action, making it useful in treating asthma.

* Conditions such as hypothyroidism, eczema, psoriasis are also improved by using coleus; largely due to its ability to increase cyclic AMP.

* Popular herb for angina and for the health of the hearth. Coleus increases stroke volume, which is the amount of blood pumped in each heart beat, and reduces the risk of blood clots, coleus lowers high blood pressure by acting to relax the arterial walls.

* Indian and Chinese studies in the last two years have isolated a number of diterpenoids in the stem and leaves of coleus forskohlii with a focus on treatment of gastric cancer and preventing metastatic (secondary) cancers. These have been carried out on animal models with considerable success.

Potential Side Effects of Coleus Forskohlii

Care should be used when using coleus with any medication to control asthma or cardiac disease. It is essential to consult your health care professional when altering medications and to thoroughly investigate how medications may interact with each other. If you take blood pressure and heart medications such as beta-blockers, clonidine, hydralazine you should only take coleus under the guidance of a physician. Similarly, blood thinners, including warfarin and heparin warrant coleus to be taken with caution under your physician's care.

Therapeutic Dosages

Recommended dosage of coleus forskohlii is 50mg two to three times daily.

Alien writes for Medicinal herbs . He also writes for healing herbs and herbal remedies

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