Forskolin is a chemical found in the roots of the plant Plectranthus barbatus (Coleus forskohlii). This plant has been used since ancient times to treat heart disorders such as high blood pressure and chest pain, as well as respiratory disorders such as asthma. The coleus plant is a native to India, and originally grew only there. These days, the coleus is used as an ornamental plant in many gardens around the world. Coleus is also cultivated in other Asian countries with a tropical or sub-tropical climate as well as in some eastern African countries with a tropical climate. When taken by mouth, in some cultures, forskolin is also used to treat allergies, skin conditions, obesity, painful menstrual periods, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), urinary tract infections (UTI), sexual problems in men, insomnia, and convulsions. It has a 3,000-year history of medicinal use in Hindu and Ayurvedic traditional medicine. The early historical use of the coleus as a remedy can be confirmed from ancient Sanskrit texts, that say the Coleus was employed as a medical herb in treating insomnia and convulsions, as well as heart and lung diseases, in addition to problems such as intestinal muscular spasms. The coleus belongs to the Lamiaceae family of plants, often called the mint family of herbs. That I wrote about on Friday.
- Coleus forskohlii preparations used as eye drops are known to reduce eye pressure in glaucoma.
- Coleus directly stimulates digestion and is thought to assist in the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine.
- Increased cellular cyclic AMP reduces histamine, making coleus beneficial in the treatment of allergies. Coleus is also a bronchodilator with an anti-histamine action, making it useful in treating asthma.
- Conditions such as hypothyroidism, eczema, psoriasis are also improved by using coleus; largely due to its ability to increase cyclic AMP.
- Popular herb for angina and for the health of the hearth. Coleus increases stroke volume, which is the amount of blood pumped in each heart beat, and reduces the risk of blood clots, coleus lowers high blood pressure by acting to relax the arterial walls.
- Indian and Chinese studies in the last two years have isolated a number of diterpenoids in the stem and leaves of coleus forskohlii with a focus on treatment of gastric cancer and preventing metastatic (secondary) cancers. These have been carried out on animal models with considerable success.
A study published in the December 2005 Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition entitled "Effects of Coleus forskohlii extract supplementation on body composition and markers of health in sedentary overweight females" says that ForsLean, Sabinsa Corporation's patented Coleus forskohlii extract, promotes favorable changes in body composition. The 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 23 overweight women conducted by researchers in the Exercise & Sport Nutrition Lab at the Center for Exercise, Nutrition & Preventive Health Research at Baylor University revealed that individuals receiving ForsLean coleus forskohlii extract showed decreases in body mass and reported less fatigue and hunger. Additionally, no clinically significant interactions were seen in metabolic markers, blood lipids, muscle and liver enzymes, electrolytes, red cells, white cells, hormones (insulin, TSH, T3, T4), heart rate or blood pressure. Study participants were given either 250 mg of ForsLean (standardized to 10 percent diterpene forskolin) or a placebo twice daily for 12 weeks. ForsLean is an extract derived from Coleus forskohlii roots, and the only known plant source of forskolin. Coleus forskohlii is available as a plain powder or in various extract potencies, for instance 10 percent, 18 percent, and 20 percent forskolin. The whole root contains only a minute amount of forskolin and may not provide a therapeutic response. Look for a product containing at least 18 percent forskolin, a typical dose is 50 milligrams two or three times a day. A standardized supplement should also contain various helper phytochemicals that improve forskolin's performance and absorption.
Another article published in the January 2000 edition of "Experimental Physiology" revealed that forskolin has bimodal effects on bone growth. When taken in low doses, forskolin can generate bone growth, and when taken in high doses, it has an inhibitive effect.
You can take coleus forskohlii in a number of ways: tea, extracts, fluid extracts or as a supplement in the form of capsules or pill. Care should be used when using coleus with any medication to control asthma or cardiac disease. It is essential to consult your health care professional when altering medications and to thoroughly investigate how medications may interact with each other. If you take blood pressure and heart medications such as beta-blockers, clonidine, hydralazine you should only take coleus under the guidance of a physician. Similarly, blood thinners, including warfarin and heparin warrant coleus to be taken with caution under your physician’s care. So if your not under a doctors care or taking any prescription medications, Forskolin may be annother arrow you may want in your quiver of weight loss options. Good Luck...
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