Health Guide


What is it?

Lobelia is an herbal medicine used to improve breathing in people with asthma, bronchitis, and other breathing problems.

Other names for Lobelia include: Cardinal flower, Red lobelia, Scarlet lobelia, Puke weed, and Indian tobacco.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Lobelia you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Lobelia. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take Lobelia without talking to your doctor first if you :

  • Smoke, chew tobacco, or use nicotine substitutes (Nicoderm(R), Nicotrol(R))


  • Before taking Lobelia, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Tachycardia and hypotension (2)
  • Tremor, dizziness, diaphoresis, paresis (2)
  • Hypothermia (2)
  • Cough (2)
  • Nausea (upset stomach) and vomiting (throwing up) (3)


1. Newall CA, Anderson LA & Phillipson JD: Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, England; 1996.

2. Reynolds JEF (ed): Martindale, the Extra Pharmacopoeia, 31st ed. Royal Pharmaceutical Society, London, England;1996.

3. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al: American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1997.

4. Threlkeld DS (ed): Miscellaneous products, smoking deterrents, lobeline. Facts and Comparisons Drug Information. Facts and Comparisons, St. Louis, MO; March 1993.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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