By Rebecca Potter
How is it possible that the herb Lobelia inflata could simultaneously be considered a love charm by Native Americans as well as have the nicknames “puke weed”, “gag root”, and “vomitwort”? Lobelia is a fascinating herb, not just because of its interesting history, but because today we know it as the “thinking” herb for a very good reason. It goes right to the place in the body it is needed and carries out the exact action that it should. When dealing with life or death situations, you might want lobelia to do the thinking and fast-acting for you.
One example of this “herbal sixth sense” is in the case of threatened miscarriage. When a fetus is dead, or dangerously weakened, lobelia will cause it to abort so it won’t cause the mother any infection. If the fetus is healthy but the mother is weak, it will cause the mother to heal and strengthen, enabling her to carry the child until delivery.
Herbalist Samuel Thomson takes credit for popularizing lobelia in America. When he was 4 years old, he came across the plant and never forgot its remarkable taste and purgative effects. He used to trick his friends into eating too much to see them vomit, (hence all the lovely nicknames for lobelia), but he never knew of its medicinal powers. One day that all changed when he gave it to a friend, who, after vomiting, felt better than he had in years. Thereafter Thomson included it in his herbal doctor’s kit, successfully helped countless people, and said, “…nothing is more harmless in its effect on the human system and [there is nothing] more powerful in removing disease and promoting health than lobelia.”
The authors of The Model Botanic Guide to Health said of lobelia, “The medical qualities of this invaluable herb are so multifarious that a large treatise might well be written on its curative powers. Suffice it, however, to say that it is a general corrector of the whole system, innocent in its nature…”
So why is lobelia so amazing? It is an antispasmodic, emetic, relaxant, stimulant, expectorant, nervine sedative, anti-venomous, counter-irritant, emmenagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, cathartic, and astringent.
“How does that help me?” you might be asking. Well let’s see – have you ever had an asthma attack? A glandular problem? Severe pain? A need to expel toxins quickly? Bronchitis? Epilepsy? Eczema? Earache? A sprain? Chicken pox? An abscess? A sprain? Indigestion? A desire to quit smoking? A way to relax? If so, then lobelia is where you want to turn.
Because it is an excellent antispasmodic herb, it is extremely helpful for epilepsy and coughing spells. Its relaxant properties are second to none, making it your first choice for a natural calming aid as well as relaxing the mucous, serous, nervous, and muscular structures. The expectorant properties have been used for centuries to open up the bronchial tubes and airways to stimulate breathing and promote coughing up of phlegm and excess mucus.
Combining lobelia with mullein is the best aid for any glandular malfunction like thyroid or any other affected gland that needs repair. It will also help with sore throat, laryngitis, colds, colic, hepatitis, lockjaw, labor pains, chest pains, bruises, insect bites, worms, poison ivy, and hormone production.
Dosage is everything. Take a small amount of lobelia for a relaxing effect and a large dose for a stimulating effect. A little can calm the stomach, decreasing nausea, and a lot will act as a medicinal purgative to empty the stomach of harmful substances. And because it’s the “thinking” herb, lobelia will even let you know when you’ve had too much – you will vomit it right back up, causing you no harm.
I know what you’re thinking- “Where can I get my hands on this amazing ‘puke weed’ asap?” If you live in the eastern US, look for it in fields, pastures, and meadows. But if you harvest it yourself, make sure you are getting the therapeutic species Lobelia inflata, Of course you could also just acquire an Essential Survival Herb Kit because we most certainly know our “vomitwort”!
Rebecca Potter is a lifelong student of herbalism, a lover of herbs and natural healing. She feels passionately about sharing her knowledge and experience with herbs to empower all to achieve the greatest possible health potential. She received her Master Herbalist degree from The School of Natural Healing, and teaches herbal classes in her local area of Salt Lake City. In addition to her herbal classes, Rebecca enjoys doing personalized herbal consultations, is involved in an integrative health clinic, and performs a variety of key functions at Essential Survival, LLC. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician.
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