Lobelia inflata, Linne'. The dried leaves and tops with not more than 10 p.c. stems,nor 2 p.c. other foreign organic matter, yielding not more than 5 p.c. acid-insoluble ash.

Habitat. N. America (Canada, United States), in fields and open places.

Syn. Lobel., Indian Tobacco, Wild Tobacco, Green, Brown, Bladder-podded Lobelia, Emetic Herb (Weed), Asthma (Puke) Weed, Gag Root, Vomit Wort, Low Belia, Eyebright; Fr. Lobelie enflee; Ger. Herba Lobeliae, Lobelienkraut.

Lo-be'li-a. L. after Matthias de Lobel, Flemish botanist, physician, and author of several botanical works, 1538-1616, native of Lille, became physician and botanist to James I., died in London.

In-fla'ta. L. inflatus, inflated, swollen -- i.e., seed are borne in egg-shaped inflated pod.

Plant

Annual herb, .3-.6 M. (1-2 degrees) high, erect, paniculately branched; stem cylindrical, coarsely and irregularly furrowed, yellowish green, occasionally purplish, pubescent with numerous spreading hairs; root fibrous. LEAVES, alternate, ovate, oblong, 2-9 Cm. (4/5 - 3 3/5') long, sessile or narrowing into a short petiole, obtusely toothed, irregularly serrate-denticulate, each tooth with a yellowish-brown, gland-like apex; pale green with scattered, bristly hairs; flowers blue, long, loose racemes with short pedicles, calyx tube ovoid with 5 subulate teeth, corolla tubular, 3-4 Mm. (1/8-1/6') long, 5-parted, the upper 2-lobed portion cleft nearly to the base; stamens with anthers united above into a curved tube enclosing the bifid stigma; capsules inflated, ovoid, ellipsoidal, 5-8 Mm. (1/5-1/3') long, light brown, inferior, enclosing numerous coarsely reticulate seed; odor slight, irritating; taste strongly acrid.

Powder

dark green, odor irritating -- fragments of seed-coat composed of polygonal cells with thick yellowish walls; occasional elongated-conical, non-glandular hairs; fragments of stem with tracheae having thickenings, pores, narrow wood-fibers with thin, lignified porous walls; fragments of leaf epidermis with elliptical stomata, pollen grains nearly spherical. Loses on drying 75 p.c. Solvents; diluted alcohol; boiling water. Dose, expectorant, gr. 1-5 (.06-.3 Gm.); emetic, gr. 10-20 (.6-1.3 Gm.).

Adulterations

Rare -- except its own stems and roots.

Commercial

Lobelia was popular with the North American Indians, but Dr. Cutler, of Massachusetts, introduced it into our medical practice. It should be collected Aug.-Sept., carefully dried, and sold loosely or in various-sized compressed packages; powder keeps well.

Constituents

Lobeline, Lobelacrin, Lobelic acid, Inflatin, a second alkaloid (?), resin, wax, volatile oil (lobelianin), fixed oil (seed) 30 p.c., gum, ash 8 p.c.

Lobeline. -- Obtained by evaporating to syrup the acetic-alcoholic tincture (preferably of seed), triturating this with magnesium oxide in excess, agitating filtrate with ether, evaporating, getting impure alkaloid. It is a yellow, aromatic liquid, acrid taste, convertible into amorphous powder and non-crystalline salts (hydrobromide, sulphate, etc.) Soluble in water. Dose (sulphate), gr. 1/6-1 (.01-.06 Gm.).

Lobelacrin. -- Obtained by concentrating tincture in the presence of charcoal, washing with water, exhausting with boiling alcohol; it is the acrid principle -- possibly lobelate of lobeline, brown, soluble in ether or chloroform, splitting with dilute acids or alkalies into sugar and lobelic acid.

Lobelic Acid. -- Obtained by precipitating decoction of leaves with copper sulphate, and decomposing with hydrogen sulphide; it is colored olive-brown by ferric salts.

Inflatin. -- Neutral principle (wax), tasteless crystals, no medicinal value.

Preparations

1. Tinctura Lobeliae. Tincture of Lobelia. (Syn., Tr. Lobel.; P. I. Lobeliae tinctura; Fr. Teinture de Lobelie; Ger. Lobelientinktur.)

Manufacture

10 p.c. Similar to Tinctura Veratri Viridis, page 104; menstruum: diluted alcohol. Dose, mv-30 -- 60 (.3-2--4 cc.).

2. Fluidextractum Lobeliae, N.F. (1st menstruum: -- acetic acid 5 cc., alcohol 50, water 45; 2d -- diluted alcohol), Dose, mj-5 -- 20 (.06-.3 -- 1.3 cc.).

Unoff Preps.: Acetum, 10 p.c., mv-60 (.3-4 cc.). Extract, gr. 1/2-2 (.03-.13 Gm.). Infusion, 5 p.c., 3ss-1 (15-30 cc.). Tinctura Lobeliae Aetherea (Br.), 20 p.c. (spirit of ether), mv-15 (.3-1 cc.). The "Eclectic" lobelin, made in the usual way, is an impure resinoid, gr. 1/2-1 (.03-.06 Gm.).

Properties

Expectorant, emetic, nervine, purgative, narcotic, diuretic, diaphoretic; similar to ipecac, but causes more distressing nausea and intense prostration; it paralyzes the motor nerves,, vasomotor center, and peripheral vagi. Leaves chewed a short time cause giddiness, headache, tremors, nausea, vomiting; full doses give speedy and severe vomiting, general relaxation, cold skin with sweating; resembles tobacco, is dangerous, having caused many deaths.

Uses

Spasmodic asthma, catarrh, croup, bronchial spasms, whooping-cough, in enema for intussusception, strangulated hernia, constipation -- when feces hard and dry; externally for poison-ivy (oak) eczema. Should not be given as an emetic, and is too depressing for children.

Poisoning

Have burning pain in fauces, esophagus, motor weakness, great depression, feeble pulse, low temperature, anxious, livid countenance, contracted pupils, vertigo, tremors, cold sweat, pale skin, sometimes violent purging, collapse, stupor, coma, death from respiratory failure. Place in recumbent position, empty stomach if vomiting has not been free, give tannin, cardiac and respiratory stimulants, strychnine, picrotoxin, thebaine, alcohol, digitalis, atropine or belladonna, digitalis, morphine, artificial heat, ergot, castor oil.

Incompatibles

Strychnine, picrotoxin; caustic alkalies decompose lobeline, making preparations inert.

Synergists: Emetics, motor depressants.

1. Lobelia syphilit'ica, Great Lobelia. -- Stem .6-1 M. (2-3 degrees) high; flowers large, 2.5 Cm. (1') long, beautiful blue; diaphoretic. Used by the aborigines for syphilis.

2. L. Cardina'lis, Cardinal-flower. -- Stem .6-1.3 M. (2-4 degrees) high; flowers large, showy, intense cardinal or scarlet-red. Used by Indians as anthelmintic; similar to L. Syphilitica, but milder.