The herb Coleus aromaticus /amboinicus belongs to the botanical family Lamiaceae (Labiatae). It is a large aromatic perennial herb that grows to approximately 30–90 cm and has a thick fleshy stem. Coleus belongs to the mint family, which grows wild on the mountain slopes of Nepal, India, and Thailand.
Coleus root contains a chemical called forskolin. Herbal product manufacturers produce coleus extracts with high levels of forskolin. Traditionally, coleus was used majorly to treat angina, insomnia, rashes, asthma, bronchitis and epilepsy.
Hypertension and its occurrence
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a considerable health challenge globally due to its associated repercussions of morbidity, mortality, and economic factors. Globally on an estimate, there may be about 972 million people suffering from hypertension in the year 2000. The estimated increase envisaged is about 60% to a total of 1.56 billion by the year 2025. India observed a four-fold growth in its population during the 50 years from the 1950s to the 1990s. (1)
With age-related bodily changes such as thickening of the vessel wall and arteriosclerosis, an increase in blood pressure sets leads to a decrease in elasticity and lumen of the vessels. It is also associated in old age frequently with feelings of stress, insecurity, anxiety, causing a disturbance in mental health and thus perpetuating the condition. Hypertension is also associated with obesity at most times. General observations show that it is more common in men than in women up to 50 years. Hypertension is more common in women and becomes equal to that seen in males.
How Does Forskolin work
Forskolin activates adenylate cyclase, which produces cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). It can reduce cardiac pre- and afterload values, which reduces systolic, diastolic, and mean pulmonary artery pressure. It can minimize pulmonary wedge pressure by greater than 50% concomitant with an increase in cardiac output. The prescribed dosage of forskolin is 100-250 mg of Coleus forskohlii (10% forskolin), twice per day. The medication has to be taken on an empty stomach. (2)
Forskolin is marketed under the different brand names: Coleus forskohlii, colforsin, makandi, maohouqiaoruihua, and pashanabhedi. Forskolin is effective on muscles in the heart and the walls of the blood vessels. It widens the blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure. It is a herbal supplement used as a natural remedy for various diseases such as cancer, glaucoma, asthma, allergies, and hypertension. (3)
Side Effects of Forskolin
Side effects of forskolin include low blood pressure, tachycardia and bleeding. Pregnant and lactating women, patients with bleeding disorder and hypertension should use it under prescription only. It should be kept out of reach of the children.
Coleus can have both advantageous and adverse effects as a natural product. Though been used since ancient times, there is still enough scope on its research for exponential development as a therapeutic herb. Safe dosages depend on the user’s age, health status and other associated conditions. Medical guidance is strongly advised.
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Shubham Pharmachem’s blog posts have been written with the information gathered from approved medical journals and websites online. Our research and technical team strive to provide relevant information through such articles. We strongly advise readers to not consume or administer any medication without prior consultation with their doctor.