Lobelia, also known as Indian tobacco, contains pyridine-derived alkaloids, primarily lobeline. These alkaloids have pharmacological actions similar to, although less potent than, nicotine. There have been several reported cases of adverse reactions associated with consumption of dietary supplements containing lobelia.
Lobelia is know to be a powerful relaxant, effecting the nervous system. It is considered the strongest relaxant in the herb kingdom. As a powerful anti-spasmodic, Lobelia is effective in causing immediate relaxation and expansion of the contracted parts of the respiratory system. This allows the breath of life to flow freely to the exhausted tissues. Jethro Kloss used it to "cure" asthma. If you want to have something on hand to handle an asthma attack naturally make a tincture of Lobelia using Apple Cider vinegar. Use about 4 ounces of Lobelia herb to a pint of Vinegar.
As one of the most useful muscle relaxants, Lobelia is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese. It is used as an expectorant, expelling phlegm from the lungs, and relieving congestion that is typically related to asthma and bronchitis. Lobelia has also been known to reduce cold and flu symptoms, suppress coughing, and stimulate perspiration, cooling down the body to help break fevers. Lobelia is considered beneficial for treating mild depression, reducing inflammation & pain, easing muscle tension, and calming the nerves. It also acts as a mild laxative for alleviating constipation. Lobelia is often used as a tobacco substitute to help those who wish to quit smoking - the alkaloid Lobeline mimics the effects of nicotine. It has long been used to treat poisonous stings and bites. The primary chemical constituents of this herb include piperidine alkaloids (lobeline, isolobeline), lobelic acid, chelidonic acid, glycoside (lobelacrin), essential oil, resins, and fats. The activity of Lobelia is dependent upon a liquid alkaloid first isolated by Proctor in 1838, who named it "lobeline". Lobelia also contains gum, resin, chlorophyll, fixed oil, lignin, and salts of lime & potassium, along with ferric oxide. Lobelia may be used in many conditions in combination with other herbs to further their effectiveness.
Lobelia has the ability to remove congestion within the body, especially in the blood vessels. In the digestive tract, Lobelia is a inhibitor/stimulant and appetite suppressant. In small doses it will stop vomiting, but it will generally induce vomiting when taken in very large doses over a very short period of time. Cayenne is generally added with lobelia for this purpose for flushing poisons from the stomach and the bowels. Lobelia increases urine flow, perspiration and helps to reduce fever. It will make the pulse fuller and slower when there is a fever, as well. For fevers Lobelia is superior to any other herb.