Coleus forskohlii

Uses

Principal Proposed Uses

Other Proposed Uses

A member of the mint family, Coleus forskohlii grows wild on the mountain slopes of Nepal, India, and Thailand. In traditional Asian systems of medicine, it was used for a variety of purposes, including treating skin rashes, asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, epilepsy, and angina. But modern interest is based almost entirely on the work of a drug company, Hoechst Pharmaceuticals. Like other drug manufacturers, Hoechst regularly screens medicinal plants in hopes of discovering new medications. In 1974, work performed in collaboration with the Indian Central Drug Research Institute found that the rootstock of Coleus forskohlii could lower blood pressure and decrease muscle spasms. Intensive study identified a substance named forskolin that appeared to be responsible for much of this effect. Like certain drugs used for asthma, forskolin increases the levels of a fundamental natural compound known as cyclic AMP. 1,2 Cyclic AMP plays a major role in many cellular functions, and some drugs that affect it relax the muscles around the bronchial tubes.

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