Lobelia inflata is an herb that is used to treat asthma, allergies, whooping cough, congestion, and bronchitis. In the past, it was also useful for tobacco withdrawal as an herbal remedy to quit smoking. It is found in the southeastern part of Canada from Nova Scotia to Southeast Ontario and British Columbia. It is also present in the eastern half of the United States (excluding the state of Florida).
Lobelia is a fragile flower described as light bluish to violet in color with a touch of yellow that can grow to a height of about three feet. It is a very popular garden plant that also has pale green or yellowish leaves. It is categorized as an annual or biennial plant meaning that it reseeds every year or two. The stem is smooth towards the top and hairy and rough towards its bottom. The flowers are asymmetrical and bisexual. The main parts used of the Lobelia plant are the flowering parts and the seeds. The seeds are the most potent because they contain lobeline, a piperidine alkaloid.
Named after Matthias de Lobel, a 17th century botanist, Lobelia is known as Indian Tobacco because it contains lobeline. Lobeline is believed to have a chemical make up similar to nicotine and was therefore used as an alternative to tobacco. In the 19th century, Lobelia was also used as a medicinal herb to induce vomiting, thus removing harmful poisons from the body.
Lobelia is a wonderful herb for those who desire to stop smoking. Because it contains lobeline, a property that can mimic nicotine, it will help to reduce cravings to nicotine. Lobelia isn't just about reducing the craving for nicotine, but has the added benefit of calming the nerves while trying to quit and who can forget it's amazing power to help one breathe more effectively while removing congestion from the lungs!