asthma weed, lobelia, Indian Tobacco, pukeweed, Vomit Wort
Lobelia is a native plant to North America that produces purplish flowers and has stems that are covered in small hairs.
Native Americans frequently used the plant to make a type of Indian Tobacco called Pukeweed. It was so named because lobelia produces the urge to vomit if ingested in sufficient quantities. Pukeweed can still be bought today.
If lobelia is burned, the smoke can be used to repel nuisance insects such as mosquitos.
Lobelia contains the naturally occurring chemical compound lobeline, which has had many uses through the years. Lobeline can be concentrated and used to treat many types of addictions, as the chemical stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is usually released by many types of addictive drugs. If lobeline can increase the levels of dopamine in the brain, then a person’s urge to use other addictive drugs may be reduced.
Not a significant source of vitamins and minerals.
Besides its use in treating addiction to various drugs, lobelia can help improve muscle disorders and respiratory issues. Lobelia also serves as a laxative, and helps to promote bowel movements to aid in recovery from constipation.
Lobelia can produce some nasty side effects, especially if taken in high doses. These side effects can include nausea, sweating, convulsions, and even coma and death.
Toxic levels are usually considered to be ingestion of 0.6 to 1 gram of lobelia leaves, while ingestion of even 4 grams may produce fatal consequences.