by Nelson, Dr. Christopher's Herb Shop
One common property of medicinal herbs is that they have multiple healing properties. So you can find yourself using one herb for many different ailments. But occasionally you’ll find one single herb that provides support for all the major aspects of a particular problem. I can think of no greater example than the herb lobelia as an aid to smokers.
Last week we had a fellow call us. He was about to leave his house, and saw six capsules on his countertop that he believed be goldenseal. He took them and left. After a while, he realized he forgot something and started back. He then felt nauseas, and like he wanted to die. Shortly after, he felt he was surely going to die. He then coughed, hacked, and began expectorating ‘a pile of black mucus.’. He said he was breathing like he was a kid again. He then learned that they were lobelia capsules. He figured this happened because he had been a smoker when he was younger.
This kind of situation happens when lobelia is taken in large doses when the lungs are in an extremely congested state. For a while lobelia was considered a poisonous herb by the FDA because it acted as an emetic. In that time (much like what we’ve seen with the herbs sassafras and comfrey) one chemical was taken out of lobelia (lobeline) and injected into animals until it killed them. Since lobelia is not just one chemical, it was eventually allowed back on the market. It would take several pounds of the herb injected into the blood to cause the toxic reaction these animals received. Furthermore, since someone vomits after eating a tablespoon of the stuff, it seems to have an excellent safety mechanism built in place.
Fortunately this only happens when lobelia is used in large doses, and someone wanting to clean the lungs gently can do so with lobelia. 1-2 capsules or ¼ - ½ a teaspoon of the herb would be a regular adult dose. People vary in sensitivity to this herb, but most should have no problem with these amounts. Lobelia is an expectorant herb, so it will push waste matter out of the lungs. It contains a chemical that resembles nicotine, but is not addictive. This can help satisfy the craving in a nicotine addiction. Further, many people use cigarettes to help calm down. Lobelia is one of the best nervine herbs there is. It will quite the nerves effectively and even help rebuild them! It is potent enough to use as a mild painkiller, massaged over cuts or scrapes or taken internally. It seems to me to be so well fitted to a smoking problem that there is little else that would be needed herbally.
In a small dosage, lobelia prevents vomiting. In large doses, it acts as an emetic. Dr. Christopher both saw and taught that asthma could be cleared overnight, provided lobelia was used during an asthma attack. This was the point at which the body was trying hardest to clear the lungs and would be most responsive. He would give them a cup of peppermint tea (mostly to settle the stomach so there wouldn’t be pains in the upcoming cleansing) and ½ a teaspoon of lobelia tincture. Every half hour he would give another dose. He said he never went over three ½ teaspoons. Then the person would vomit, and then cough up cups of tar and mucus from the lungs for 2-4 hours. This kind of dramatic healing crisis will only happen when there is an asthma attack or a respiratory emergency. Otherwise what could be done in a day will take a few months with smaller doses.
Cayenne pepper is also useful for cutting the mucus in the lungs. So would fenugreek, though I consider it less effective. Vitamin C supplements are also commonly used to help. Dr. Christopher used a formula containing wild oats, lobelia, cayenne and rose hips. The rose hips contain vitamin C. This formula is still made today, and is called the Smoke Out formula. In any case, lobelia works well by itself.
Find Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Formulas, single herbs, essential oils, books and more at Dr. Christopher’s Original Herb Shop: www.drchristophersherbshop.com.
NOTICE: All information in this newsletter is given out as information only and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe.