Indian Tobacco / Pukeweed

Lobelia inflata

Lobelia (botanical name Lobelia Inflata) is an annual or biennial herb that is native to the eastern regions of North America and is found growing naturally in pastures and meadows. Many even cultivate this herb in the fields. The herb has a straight, but angular stem that usually grows up to a height of 1 meter.

The stem is covered with hairs or bristles and encloses a milky sap. The plant bears slender leaves that have a pale green hue and appear alternately on the stalk. The leaves of this plant are also hairy, have an ovate or ellipsoid shape and are bluntly serrate.

The herb bears numerous petite, two-lipped flowers having a blue hue. These flowers appear in racemes resembling spikes between the period July and November. The fruit of lobelia contains two cells that are packed with tiny brown seeds.

It may be noted that since time immemorial people have used the Lobelia Inflata plant as an entheogen with a view to bring on a spiritual experience. Penobscots, a member of the indigenous North American Indian population, have used this plant extensively.

In addition, Lobelia Inflata was also commonly used in New England even prior to the era of Samuel Thomson, who is known to have discovered the plant. In fact, the Lobelia Inflata plant, also known as Indian tobacco is still in use in many parts of the world.

The seed is the most potent part of this plant since it encloses most of the substance called lobeline, the key element that provides the plant with its psychoactive (the aptitude of a substance to bring about intense effect on mental processes) attributes.

Lobeline is commercially available in online pharmacies selling herbal medications and the entheogen users considered it to be a very valuable substance. The flavour of lobeline reminds one of genuine tobacco - pungent and very strong. Usage of lobeline encourages profuse flow of saliva.

Some people have a false impression that when lobelia is smoked it brings about a highly euphoric sensation. However, the fact remains that lobeline actually generates a feeling of being relaxed. Lobelia may be used fresh as well as dried.

Lobelia possesses a number of remedial properties and, hence, herbalists use this plant for treating health conditions like asthma. The plant's usefulness in treating asthma has earned it the nickname of asthma weed. Some people also prepare ointments with this plant for topical application.

In addition to the therapeutic uses of lobelia, some people are also reported to burn the entire dehydrated plant to use the smoke as bug repellent to ward off insects, especially mosquitoes.

The homeopathic remedy lobelia is extremely suitable for people who are excessively anxious regarding their health, especially those individuals who apprehend death from any heart or lung ailment. In homeopathy, lobelia is generally prescribed to treat health conditions, such as breathlessness and asthma with extreme nervous anxiety.

The typical symptoms that can be cured using this homeopathic medicine include a clattering sound in the chest although there may be very little or no mucus present in the chest. In addition, this medication is also useful for treating symptoms like a feeling of repression and tightness of the chest.

The other symptoms, which are effectively cured by using lobelia, include hiccups, profuse salivation, heaving, nausea, a sinking sensation in the stomach as well as a feeling like there is a lump stuck up inside the throat. This homeopathic remedy is also useful in treating excessive sweating, vomiting and nausea accompanied by dizziness.

In earlier times, the Native Americans used lobelia as a substitute for tobacco as well as a medication to persuade expectoration (release of cough or phlegm) and vomiting. Since all homeopathic remedies are energy-based, they have the potential to be very useful in an assortment of health conditions. One of the main properties of lobelia significantly reduces the desire for nicotine.

Lobelia is a safe and soothing homeopathic remedy which can be ingested whenever a person develops a desire for nicotine use. In fact, using lobelia can greatly help in prevailing over the addiction for nicotine and also provide great relief to people who are chain smokers or use nicotine in any other form.

The homeopathic medicine lobelia has a remarkable action on chest conditions, such as cold, cough and dyspnoea (breathing problems or breathlessness). People enduring dyspnoea caused by a feeling or tightness in the middle of the chest accompanied by a sensation of weight or pressure on the chest and which is alleviated when the patient walks quickly may find lobelia very useful.

In such conditions, the patients have a sensation as if their heart would stop beating any moment. Some patients may also experience a strange feeling of pricking throughout their body prior to the asthma attack. All these conditions as well as the associated symptoms are effectively cured by the homeopathic remedy lobelia.

Besides being useful in treating the conditions discussed above, the homeopathic remedy lobelia is also effective in curing dyspepsia (indigestion or deranged digestion). When ever people endure this condition, their tongue has a semi-lateral coating, while they continue to secrete saliva profusely.

The patients may also experience intense queasiness and vomiting accompanied by a slight and feeble feeling that is beyond description at epigastrium (the upper and middle part of the abdomen) with cold sweating. In addition, the patient also experiences flatulence, acidity and shortness of breath after taking a meal. Such patients are also unable to tolerate the smell or taste of tobacco in any form.

Turning to the homeopathic remedy lobelia helps to cure all such conditions and related symptoms. Lobelia is also extremely beneficial for people suffering from chronic cases of vomiting accompanied by a nausea, excessive sweating and noticeable prostration.

In homeopathy, lobelia is further indicated for treating headaches caused by gastric problems and owing to ingestion of tobacco or taking tea, alcoholic beverages and other substances. This homeopathic remedy is useful for treating recurring headache that generally appears during the afternoon and remains till midnight.

Such headaches are usually accompanied by symptoms like nausea, vomiting and intense prostration (extreme physical weakness or tiredness).

Parts used

The entire Lobelia Inflata (Indian tobacco) plant, which is in blossom, is used to prepare the homeopathic remedy lobelia. In fact, even the seeds and roots of this plant are used to prepare the medication. After harvesting, the fresh plant is chopped finely and pulverized (macerated) in alcohol to obtain the homeopathic remedy.


Homeopathic medicines are usually energy-based therapies that may be very effectual in treating an assortment of health conditions. One of the primary and most effective remedial uses of Lobelia Inflata (as the flower of the lobelia plant is known) is to decrease cravings for nicotine.

The homeopathic remedy lobelia, a palliative (soothing and pain killing medication), is used internally each time an individual develops a longing for nicotine. To a great extent, using lobelia, a safe and useful homeopathic remedy, helps to overcome nicotine addiction.

Smokers who ingest this medication find that their craving for nicotine has reduced substantially. Hence, the homeopathic remedy lobelia is often prescribed by homeopathic medicine practitioners to help people quit their smoking habit.

As aforementioned, the homeopathic remedy lobelia, as well as its key active element alkaloid lobeline, produces a calming effect on the muscles owing its anti-spasmodic property. A number of practitioners of herbal medicine recommend lobelia for treating persistent sprains. As in the case of treating asthma, the homeopathic remedy lobelia is basically used in the form of a balm.

They recommend that people suffering from asthma apply this balm several times daily directly on the skin over the muscles that are affected. The tincture form of this medication can also be applied externally on the skin with the intention of soothing the muscles.

Many people who endure back pain as a result of tension have reported that application of lobelia tincture on the affected areas helps to provide temporary respite.

Occasionally, herbal medicine practitioners also use lobelia as a tranquilizer as this herb possesses potent attributes to tranquilize or calm down the nervous system. In fact, many varieties of lobelia tincture are available in the market and some of them combine lobelia with cayenne or capsicum to bring about a soothing effect in people who have been suffering from different nervous disorders.

Before we conclude the discussion, it is important to remember that lobelia can prove to be a toxic substance when ingested. Therefore, it is advisable never to take this medication in excess of what has been recommended by your physician.


Lobelia Inflata, also known as the Indian tobacco, forms the basis of the homeopathic remedy lobelia. This plant belongs to a species of Lobelia, which is indigenous to the eastern regions of North America. This plant is found growing in the region extending from south-eastern part of Canada (precisely speaking, from Nova Scotia to south-east Ontario) towards south all through Alabama in the United States and westwards to Kansas.


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