The medicinal power of Coleus forskohlii

Coleus is native to Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and India. It is a perennial plant that has a woody trunk at the bottom but grows low as a ground cover. It is a kind of semi-shrub with a height of 25 centimeters. Coleus has several medicinal uses. This plant is related to lavender and mint. The main effects of coleus are fat burning, heart-strengthening effects and reducing allergies. Coleus is used as a medicine in phytotherapy. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.


  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • History of use of coleus
  • Coleus forskohlii for weight loss
  • Coleus in glaucoma
  • Coleus in cardiovascular disease
  • Warning coleus


Coleus forskohlii has an alternative Latin name: Plectranthus barbatus . The plant was first described under this name in 1810 by the English botanist Charles Henry Andrews. In Dutch this plant is called coleus and has no other name. In Kenya, this plant is called kikuyu toilet paper because it is used as such locally.

Active substances

The root tuber of coleus forskohlii is used for medicinal purposes. This root contains diterpenes such as forskolin and rosmarinic acid, flavonoid gluconorides, coleonols and essential oil. Forskolin is the main active substance. Some of the medicinal properties of forskolin are: heart tonic, fat burning activity, muscle relaxing properties, inhibition of histamine release and increased thyroid function.

History of use of coleus

In Ayurveda, the Indian traditional medicine, coleus is used to treat heart disease, convulsions, crampy pain and pain during urination. Coleus is also used in South American folk medicine. Sometimes it is confused with boldo, a plant that looks much the same but has different medicinal properties.

Coleus forskohlii for weight loss

Coleus promotes the secretion of gastric juices. This improves digestion and reduces the risk of excessive weight gain. In addition, forskolin plays a role in the level of cyclic AMP, a substance that is an important factor in biochemical processes in the cell. It regulates the breakdown of glycogen into glucose and lipolysis, or fat burning. For these reasons, forskolin-based products are recommended for obesity and a weight loss diet.

Coleus in glaucoma

Coleus lowers intraocular pressure or the pressure in the eyeball. The effect is strongest two hours after administration and lasts about five hours. It is used in the form of eye drops and thus helps with glaucoma, also known as eyeball hypersensitivity or green cataracts.

Coleus in cardiovascular disease

Coleus is a vasodilator. In addition, it lowers blood pressure if someone suffers from hypertension or high blood pressure. With normal blood pressure there is hardly any difference. It also reduces inflammation on the walls of the blood vessels. This reduces the chance of plaque formation. In addition, it has an inotropic effect, which means that it increases the contractile force of the heart. Blood is pumped more efficiently, which is beneficial for people with a weak heart.

  • Angina pectoris or heart cramps,
  • Heart and vascular disease,
  • Heart weakness or heart failure,
  • Arteriosclerosis.

Warning coleus

  • People with low blood pressure should avoid coleus because it can lower blood pressure even more.
  • People taking asthma medications should use coleus in consultation with a doctor because it interacts with asthma medications.
  • Coleus has interactions with blood-thinning medications.
  • One should only use preparations standardized for forskolin and not experiment with parts of the plant yourself.