The herb that is used more as condiment than medicinal drug, Coleus is native to India. The leaves and root of this herb is found useful in ailments related to cardiovascular and respiratory system. Nevertheless, latest researches conducted in effort to learn more about the herb reveal its potent muscle relaxant properties in the human body if prescribed in particular doses. The herb is known to lower the blood pressure (anti hypertensive properties as active ingredients in herb show significant dilatation of the blood vessels), relieve the spasms (anti spasmodic action) and boost overall health.
Coleus forskohlii is also known as Plectranthus barbatus and Indian Coleus. It is a tropical perennial plant belonging to coleus species. Since the herb produces forskolin, it has attracted scientists and medical experts from all over the world.
As recorded in ancient Ayurvedic (probably the oldest Indian medicinal science) texts, coleus has been prescribed as medical herb for treating heart and lung ailments, stomach and intestines’ problems, insomnia (sleeplessness) and convulsions in some cases. Latest research on the herb shows great action of forskolin, an active ingredient found in Coleus, on human body. It helps in improving a variety of body tissues’ function including regulating the release and secretion of histamine. If taken in proper dosage, Coleus is found to be very helpful in restoring the thyroid gland malfunction, muscles’ tone and fat metabolism.
Benefits of Coleus
Regular intake of Coleus in a proper dose helps in improving the digestion. Since the herb positively approaches the digestive system, it helps in eliminating the fat tissues. Simply put, the herb contains potential ingredients that burn the fats effectively without disturbing other bodily systems. Coleus is also known for its histamine control and hence can be used in various allergic conditions where the histamine secretion is more than required. Said this, the herb can be prescribed in Hay’s fever, malaise, common cough and cold etc.
The herb is reported to be beneficial for human endocrine disruption. Forskolin, the potential substance present in the plant is said to regulate various enzymes and hormones in human body and hence, is used to control and cure thyroid gland malfunctioning, especially when the gland is under functioning (the condition is called hypothyroidism).
Though the herb is prescribed in many ailments, let us go through some of the most frequently seen diseases/conditions wherein Coleus has played a key role:-
The active chemical found in Coleus herb is forskolin, which in research, observed to initiate the cascade of hormone/enzyme reaction that force the fat cells releasing their energy and then melt down. The specific theory about how Coleus can help in obesity can be interpreted as forskolin boosts the enzyme called adenylate cyclase that as a result increases the level of another enzyme known as cyclic AMP (cAMP), the main component found in fatty tissues and cells. Increased level of cAMP then starts stimulating its next enzyme (sensitive lipase) that ultimately burns the adipose tissues (the fat cells).
High Blood Pressure
It is reported in scientific documents that forskolin helps in dilating the blood vessels and hence improves the forcefulness of the heart to pump the blood smoothly, without any hassles. Blood vessel dilators, undoubtedly, help in relieving the blood pressure and hence, they act as potent natural anti hypertensive drugs. Improved heart function help patients with cardiomyopathy.
Asthma and Lung Spasm
There are lots of researches on the herb Coleus. Some studies also suggest that inhaling the herb’s extract that contain forskolin can decrease the spasm in the lungs and hence, help in tackling breathlessness due to mild to moderate asthmatic attack.
Dosage and Side Effects
Most of the trials and researches used a concentrated extract of forskolin through injections, aerosolized and topical ophthalmic and hence, oral dosage may require professional health care provider’s advice. Also, oral Coleus forskohlii extracts are generally standardized to 10% forskolin, and its recommended dosage ranges from 100-250 mg two times a day.
- There should be a caution using Coleus in a person suffering from any sort of ulcers in the gut as forskolin is found to increase stomach acid levels.
- Caution should also be considered in a patient who has hypotension (low blood pressure) as the herb possesses potent hypotensive action.
- As forskolin effects on platelet aggregation, the herb is used cautiously in patients with bleeding disorders or those who take blood-thinning pills
- Coleus forskohlii extracts is not considered to be safe for pregnant or lactating women.