Coleus forskohli is a perennial member of the mint, or Lamiaceae, family that was first discovered in the lower elevations of India. It is now grown around the world as an ornamental plant. The root is used for a myriad of medicinal purposes. As recorded in ancient Sanskrit texts, coleus has been used as a medical herb to treat heart and lung diseases, intestinal spasms, insomnia, and convulsions.
Forskolin is a chemical found in the coleus herb that activates the enzyme adenylate cyclase. Andenylate cyclase compound initiates a myriad of critical events and processes within all the cells of the human body. Adenylate cyclase and the chemicals it activates are responsible for executing a number of important hormonal processes. Stimulation that is caused by forskolin supposedly leads to blood vessel dilation, inhibition of allergic reactions, and possibly an increased secretion of thyroid hormone. Forskolin has other reported uses as well, including inhibition of the pro-inflammatory substance known as platelet-activating factor (PAF) 6 and inhibition of the spread of cancer cells.
Some studies in humans have shown that direct application of a special preparation of forskolin to the eyes lowers eye pressure, whereby decreasing the risk of glaucoma. Direct application of the whole herb to the eyes has not been studied and is not recommended by any known medical professionals.
It has been reported that forskolin may also assist in dilating blood vessels and improving the forcefulness with which the heart pumps blood. Some studies have indicated that forskolin may help to reduce blood pressure and improved heart function in people with cardiomyopathy. However, there is no clear evidence as to whether or not oral supplementation with coleus extracts would be an efficient way of taking this herb. One study did find evidence that inhaling forskolin could decrease lung spasms for people with asthma.Dosage and Administration
Commonly coleus extracts come in standardized dosage of about 15 forskolin. Some medical professionals have recommended taking 50-100 mg of standardized coleus extract two to three times per day but these amounts have not been confirmed by clinical research. Most studies have used injected forskolin; therefore, the amount that should be taken orally to have the same effect is still unknown.