Coleus Forskohlii (Forskolin)
Enzyme and Hormone Activator
Coleus Forskohlii, a member of the mint family, has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, being applied to a variety of conditions including hypertension, asthma, eczema, psoriasis, congestive heart failure, and angina. The beneficial effects of this herb have been well-researched in both animal and human clinical studies. It acts by increasing levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in cells. This cAMP activates many other enzymes which are involved in diverse cell functions. Some of the effects that have been observed and studied include:
A powerful anti-spasmodic action on smooth muscle. This makes it useful for the relief of intestinal colic, uterine cramps, painful (cramping) urination, angina and hypertension. This antispasmodic effect also relaxes airways, resulting in bronchodilation, decreased airway resistance, and increased vital capacity and forced expiratory volume of the lungs, making it a very useful treatment for asthma and allergies.
Increased contractility of the heart muscle, which makes it valuable in the treatment of congestive heart failure, while at the same time it lowers blood pressure by relaxing the arteries.
Increased cerebral (brain) blood flow. This indicates that it may be helpful in improving post-stroke recovery.
Inhibition of platelet aggregation (blood clotting) also adds to its value in the treatment of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disorders.
It is felt that the cAMP elevating effects of forskolin may result in an improvement in glaucoma and conditions of increased intraocular pressure.
Symptoms of psoriasis have been improved through the use of forskolin, thought to be due to an improvement in the cAMP/cGMP ratio.
Depression may also be responsive to the effects of forskolin through it's action of increasing cAMP and inhibiting phosphodiesterase. Researchers stopped short of recommending forskolin for the treatment of depression, but did state that "elevated brain cAMP levels are closely linked to antidepressant activity..."
Scientists at the Penn State University College of Medicine found significant weight loss and reduction of blood pressure levels in subjects of a recent study, indicating that forskolin may be a useful and safe herb for those seeking to lose weight.
Related to the above is the effect that forskolin has on the thyroid: it serves to increase thyroid hormone production and stimulates thyroid hormone release. This mechanism may be one way in which forskolin promotes a normal body weight. It's effects in normalizing thyroid function may also contribute the antidepressant effects seen with forskolin use.
Scientists at Brown University have suggested that forskolin may have a place in the prevention of tumor metastasis due to its effect as a potent inhibitor of platelet aggregation and inhibition of tumor colonization.
Finally, forskolin has been shown to enhance and boost the immune system by activating macrophages and lymphocytes which are valuable tools in the body's battle against infection.
Suggested dose: 1-3 capsules per day. (Target: 10-30 mg forskolin per day)