A little bit about Lobelia


Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)


Oh Lobelia! What a wonderful and helpful plant that is highly revered and should be used with great reverence. Lobelia is an herb that I have slowly formed a relationship with over 20 years. It took that long for me to fully understand and to welcome in. There was an element of fear around the relationship for me, because I knew how incredibly powerful this herb is. At the time when I first engaged with her, I was aware of her powerful emetic qualities. I have a very big fear over vomiting (which translates into a fear of letting go – if we look at it from a certain perspective.). It is interesting, although not surprising, that as my relationship with letting things go shifted, so did my relationship with lobelia. As I gradually understood through my evolution that “letting go” is not an all or nothing process, I noticed that I began to look at lobelia differently.


Lobelia is a systemic relaxant, probably one of the best. It is often employed for use in respiratory conditions, where it can be very effective at both stimulating and relaxing. I have recommended Lobelia to clients for employment on the respiratory system, who have found it bringing great and powerful shifts throughout their entire body. I find that Lobelia is an herb that I always keep close by in a vinegar extract form. It is something I migrate to from time to time, usually taken in doses of 3 drops a day. Depending on what support I am engaging her for, I might bring in other herbs such as elecampane or mullein, if respiratory support is my intention. I may bring in herbs such as motherwort, black cohosh, or valerian flower if I am looking for more nervous system support. Of course everything is all connected and we often find that even when we have an intention set for support with one body system, others shift as well. They have to. That’s nature!


Lobelia has a relaxing effect on the nervous system and on neuro-muscular action. It is a very powerful emetic herb and in doses that are not all that big, can cause vomiting. It should never be employed for use as an emetic, unless under the close guidance of a skilled herbalist.


When a vinegar extraction of lobelia is taken into the mouth, it hits the back of the throat, stimulating the Vegus nerve, which then triggers the respiratory tract to relax. The Vagus Nerve is the longest and most complex nerve in the body that travels from brain tissues all the way throughout the rest of the body. When you work with the Vagus nerve, you are literally working with the entire body.


Lobelia is very high in alkaloids, and therefore is best taken as a vinegar extraction. It is always taken by the DROP. Most of the time, I recommend anywhere from 3 to 5 drops. It can be used as a tea, but I find the vinegar extraction to be optimal.


Actions – Respiratory stimulant, anti-asthmatic, anti-spasmodic, expectorant, emetic, nervine, sedative*



To Make a Lobelia Extract by Maceration


1:5 weight:volume ratio


1 part lobelia leaf

5 parts menstruum. I use a menstruum of around 60% raw apple cider vinegar, 20% alcohol, and 20% water.


Place in a jar. Shake daily and let infuse for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain. Bottle. Label.


For guidance on making a lobelia extract by percolation process, please visit The Drawing Room and watch the March Instructional/Demonstration on The Percolation Method of Extraction.




*The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman