Home / Chinese Herb / LOBELIA [半遍莲, BAN BIAN LIAN]


[00aName : Lobelia

Chinese Name : 半遍莲

Latin Name : Herba Lobeliae


This herb is the whole plant of  Lobelia chinensis Lour. of the family Campanulaceae. It is mainly distributed throughout the Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Sichuan, and Tiawan provinces of China. Collected in summer, it is cleaned, dried, and cut into sections.

Traditionally, this herb was used on snake and insect bites, and to treat fever, asthma, and ague. Today,  lobelia is commonly used as anti-inflammatory. Damp-Heat eliminating diuretic, as well as an antitumor agent.

Use of Lobelia in TCM

Acrid and sweet in taste, and slightly cool and neutral, it acts on the heart, lung, and small intestine meridians.

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Exerts an antitumor effect: for stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, and other cancers of the digestive tract, lobelia is combined with scute root, barbata, skull cap, and olden-landia in a decoction
  2. Eliminates pathogenic Heat and detoxifies: lobelia in a decoction is able to remove toxic Heat, and detoxify and neutralize toxins of poisonous snakebites
  3. Removes pathogenic Heat and Dampness: to treat a swollen abdomen, it is mixed with verbena, bitter orange, plantain seed, and polyporus. Lobelia is used with phellodendron, bitter orange,  and capillaries to treat jaundice. A concentrated decoction of  lobelia can be applied on the external affected areas for tinca (ringworm), on the feet, and to treat eczema


In a decoction of 15 to 30 g. the fresh  herb can be used externally for snake and insect bites


People with deficiency-type edema should avoid this herb

Side Effects and Toxicity

The classical Chinese material  medica recorded this herb as nontoxic. However, certain people may experience salivation, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, hypertension, tachycardia caused  by overdose, and even convulsions, paralysis of the respiratory system, and death.

Chemical Constituents

Lobelia contains lobeline, lobelanine, lobelanidine, isolobelanine, lobelinin, and polyfructosan.

Pharmacological Findings

Lobelia is a marked diuretic, antimicrobial, hypotensive, and antipyretic, as well as an antifungal and antitumor agent. It lowers blood pressure and increases production of bile.