Whats all the fuss about Lobelia?

What is Lobelia or Indian tobacco?

With a long history of use as an herbal remedy for respiratory ailments and use in ceremonial traditions, Lobelia inflata is commonly known as Indian tobacco. In the Ioway language, the herb is called Wansikerañi, meaning “person flower.”

field of purple lobelia flowers

What is Lobelia or Indian tobacco good for?

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the herb began to be used by American physicians, prescribed as an emetic, inducing vomiting to rid the body of toxins. However, it was also used by physicians to treat spasmodic conditions affecting the respiratory system like asthma and pertussis. An account published in 1982 by a physician stated that: “I became convinced that [Lobelia inflata] was of great use in asthma; so much so, that after I had used all that I received from my American friend, I tried to procure it.” Later on, it became an important medicinal herb in America, used in the treatments of conditions like abscess, insomnia, tetanus, and shock. Today, modern herbalists sometimes prescribe the plant to clear mucus from the respiratory tract, including the throat and lungs, and as part of a “comprehensive treatment for asthma.” 

Effects and Modern Uses of Lobelia

Since the medicine was first used by Native American tribes, it has been subject to studies evaluating its chemical components and effectiveness. It was found that the primary compound found in the plant is one called lobeline. The chemical properties of lobeline mimic that of nicotine, so it has shown to be effective in smoking cessation as well as aiding with other addictions, such as those to methamphetamines. When present, Lobeline inhibits the release of dopamine caused by nicotine and amphetamines.  

Additionally, studies involving lobeline have shown that it may be effective in treatments for alcoholism. Lobeline was shown to decrease the percentage of seizures similarly to diazepam, a medication commonly used to treat seizures, alcohol addiction, and anxiety. Based on the reduction of free radicals in the brains of mice used to study the effects of the compound, lobeline may exhibit neuroprotective effects as well. 

Lobelia inflata can be found in tinctures, ointments, and herbal cigarettes. In large doses, consumption can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness, but has traditionally been shown to be safe at low doses. 

view of large body of water from a rocky shoreline with blue skies and a few clouds after the sun has set

Smoking Lobelia

Can you smoke Lobelia?

Just as native tribes do during ceremonies, Lobelia inflata can be smoked in a blend of herbs that help people overcome the harmful effects of nicotine addiction.

Is Lobelia safe to smoke?

In low doses, Lobelia is safe to smoke. When prepared with a blend of other herbs, it can offer additional benefits, like when prepared with CBD. Lobelia is non-addictive and does not have a psychoactive effect on the smoker.

How much Lobelia can you smoke?

Current dosing recommendations do not currently exist. Some sources suggest no more than 100 mg of the dry herb per day for traditional uses of the herb.

Reasons to Smoke Lobelia

In a blend of other herbs, Lobelia can be smoked to help overcome nicotine cravings and feel relaxed and restored. The cigarette form will allow the herbal compounds to enter the body more quickly than in other forms, like a tincture that is ingested.

note pad on table full of dried herbs

The meaning of Lobelia in Native culture and traditions

Native to North America, Lobelia inflata was first used by Native American tribes to treat respiratory conditions like coughs, asthma, and pneumonia. The herb also found its way into ceremonial traditions as the compounds within it produce a mild euphoric effect. It even was included in love medicines, a tradition that sought to end a couple’s arguments. 

Used for hundreds of years by Native American tribes, Lobelia has a history of being effective against certain ailments and reducing the dependence on nicotine, alcohol, or other addictive compounds. Early use led to more widespread adoption amongst early American physicians.

Native american tepee that is white with blue stripes in field

Lobelia and Hemp Cigarettes: Soje Floral Blend

Lobelia inflata can be found in the Soje “Floral Blend” hemp cigarette, along with other herbs like Echinacea, Uva Ursi, Damiana, Raspberry Leaf, and Mint. Soje cigarette blends are non-addictive and non-psychoactive, helping you overcome nicotine cravings and feel relaxed and restored. The herbal cigarette allows CBD to quickly and effectively be ingested into the body, offering the quickest way to feel the calming effects of the blend. 

Since its earliest applications, science has demonstrated the positive effect Lobelia inflata can have on the human body. Soje captured this history and scientific support into its proprietary, organic blend of hemp cigarettes. Not only that, the Soje brand encapsulated the culture and traditions of the Ioway tribe, as it is the only tribally owned and operated hemp cigarette brand in the United States.