Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco) is a species of Lobelia native to eastern North America, from southeastern Canada (Nova Scotia to southeast Ontario) south through the eastern United States to Alabama and west to Kansas.[1]


It is an annual or biennial herbaceous plant growing to 15–100 centimetres (5.9–39 in) tall, with stems covered in tiny hairs. Its leaves are usually about 8 centimetres (3.1 in) long, and are ovate and toothed. It has violet flowers that are tinted yellow on the inside, and usually appear in mid summer and continue to bloom into fall.[2]

Cultivation and uses

Lobelia inflata has a long use as an entheogenic substance. The plant was widely used by the Penobscots and was widely used in the New England even before the time of Samuel Thomson who was credited as discovering it. The most potent part of the plant is the seed as it contains the most lobeline, the main ingredient which gives the plant its pyschoactive property. It is sold widely in online herbal shops, and is prized among entheogen users. Its taste is reminiscent of real tobacco, acrid and burning, and it promotes the heavier flow of saliva. A common misconception is that when smoked it yields a euphoric "high" like feeling, when it actually produces a more relaxant like effect. It can be used fresh, or dry.

Lobelia inflata is also used by herbalists for treatment of asthma, hence its other nickname, asthma weed. Some make ointments of the plant to use externally.

It is also said that plant material is burned as a natural bug repellent to keep away insects such as mosquitoes.

from its microscopical examination: anomocytic stomata, sclerenchymatous idioblast, very long non-glandular hair with enlarged base and warty cuticle, spherical pollengrain


Propagation is usually accomplished by cuttings or seed. Seeds are sown in containers in mid spring or mid fall. The seeds take about two weeks to germinate.



  1. "Lobelia inflata L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1994-08-23. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  2. Caldecott, T. Western Materia Medica: Lobelia inflata (pdf file)

External references

  1. Lobelia inflata - Plants For A Future database report
  2. Indian Tobacco (Lobelia inflata)
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Lobelia inflata. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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