Coleus Forskohlii 101 (+ Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings)

Coleus Forskohlii, a member of the mint family, has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. While this plant offers multiple benefits, it is best known for its active compound, Forskolin. This article delves deep into the realm of Forskolin, outlining its benefits, potential side effects, and the science behind its mechanisms.

1. Origin and Historical Context

Coleus Forskohlii originates from subtropical regions of India, Thailand, and East Africa. Traditionally, the plant’s roots were used as a natural remedy for various ailments, from heart disorders to respiratory issues.

2. What is Forskolin?

Forskolin is a diterpenoid extracted from the roots of the Coleus Forskohlii plant. This active compound has garnered attention from the medical community and health enthusiasts alike for its diverse potential benefits.

3. The Science Behind Forskolin

One of Forskolin’s primary mechanisms is its ability to raise the levels of cyclic AMP (cAMP), a molecule that plays a crucial role in several cellular functions. This is how Forskolin can influence multiple physiological processes.

Benefits of Forskolin

  • Weight Management: One of the most popular uses of Forskolin supplements is for weight loss. Some studies suggest that Forskolin may assist in fat loss and muscle building, although more extensive research is needed.
  • Heart Health: Historically, Forskolin has been used to treat heart disorders. Research indicates that it can help lower blood pressure and improve heart function.
  • Respiratory Aid: Forskolin can increase cAMP levels, which might help relax the muscles around bronchial tubes, aiding in breathing.
  • Eye Health: Some studies suggest that Forskolin can reduce intraocular pressure, potentially benefiting those with glaucoma.

Potential Side Effects

Like all supplements, Forskolin isn’t without potential side effects. Some individuals might experience:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Stomach issues or diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Stinging in the eyes (if used as an eye drop)

It’s always crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement, including Forskolin.

Please consult with them about any relevant interactions and warnings.

Dosage and Administration

Forskolin supplements vary in concentration, so it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage. Typically, doses range from 100-500 mg daily, but this can vary based on the specific supplement and its intended use.


Coleus Forskohlii and its active compound, Forskolin, have been part of traditional medicine for ages and are now gaining traction in modern health and wellness circles. While it offers numerous potential benefits, ranging from weight management to heart health, it’s vital to approach Forskolin supplements with care and consultation. Ensure you’re well-informed, and always prioritize safety by engaging with healthcare professionals.

Specific Sources/Comments/Reports

Adverse Effects & More

A 65-year-old woman with a 25-year history of facial dermatitis and no obvious external cause was patch tested with her houseplants and a wide range of common allergens. The only positive reaction found was to the plant Coleus blumei.
– Am J Contact Dermat 1997 Mar;8(1):8-9 — Airborne contact dermatitis from Coleus plant. — Bryld LE. — Department of Dermatology, University of Copenhagen, Gentofte Hospital, Denmark.

Forskolin lowers the blood pressure in dogs and cats and also in spontaneously hypertensive and renal hypertensive rats.

– Arzneimittelforschung 1978;28(2):284-9 — Positive inotropic and blood pressure lowering activity of a diterpene derivative isolated from Coleus forskohli: Forskolin. — Lindner E, Dohadwalla AN, Bhattacharya BK.

Large doses of coleonol have a depressant action on the central nervous system. The pharmacological properties of coleonol, a diterpene, isolated from Coleus forskohlii were investigated.

– J Ethnopharmacol 1981 Jan;3(1):1-13 — Pharmacological studies on coleonol, a hypotensive diterpene from Coleus forskohlii. — Dubey MP, Srimal RC, Nityanand S, Dhawan BN.

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