Health Guide

Coleus forskolii

What is it?

Coleus forskolii is an herbal medicine that is used to treat asthma, congestive heart failure, and glaucoma. Forskolin is the major active part of Coleus forskolii.

Other names for Coleus forskolii include: Coleus forskohlii, Coleonol, Coleus, Colforsin, and Forskolin.

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 Coleus forkolii you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Coleus forkolii. 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 Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need.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 Coleus Forskolii without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Blood thinning medicine (examples: warfarin (Coumadin(R)), clopidogrel (Plavix(R)), aspirin, enoxaparin (Lovenox(R)), dalteparin (Fragmin(R)))


  • Before taking Coleus Forskolii, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not take Coleus Forskolii if you have low blood pressure
  • Forskolin should be carefully used if you take other medicines
  • Talk to your care giver (doctor, pharmacist, or nurse) if you take blood thinning medicine and are taking Coleus Forskolii
  • Stop taking Coleus Forskolii 1 to 2 weeks before surgery to decrease bleeding problems after surgery

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.

  • Tremor (shaking)
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Cough


1. Bone K: Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs, Monographs for Western Herbal Practitioner. Phytotherapy Press, Warwick, Queensland, Australia; 1996.

2. Meyer BH, Stulting AA, Müller FO et al: The effects of forskolin eye drops on intraocular pressure. S Afr Med J 1987; 71:570-571.

3. Bauer K, Dietersdorfer F, Sertl K et al: Pharmacodynamic effects of inhaled dry powder formulations of fenotrol and colforsin in asthma. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1993; 53:76-83.

4. VanHecke E: Airborne contact dermatitis from coleus in a housewife. Contact Dermatitis 1991; 25(2):128-129.

5. Norred CL & Brinker F: Potential coagulation effects of preoperative complementary and alternative medicines. Alt Ther 2001; 7(6):58-67.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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