Lobelia / Lobelia inflata
Habitat and Growing Conditions: Dry places in northern North America.
Pertinent Information: Emetic. Expectorant. Diaphoretic (causes sweating). Antispasmodic. Nervine. Use the entire plant. Collect in August and September. Use to relax the lungs and throat from excessive coughing and asthma. Externally, a poultice can be used for sprains and bruises, or for arthritic inflammation.
Personal Experience: The first time I tried the infusion it was acrid and bitter. The back of my throat and the entirety of my soft palate and my inner ears burned and itched and I felt nauseous for quite a long time after only a few sips. I thought it was something I would likely drink as an emetic only. Luckily, a few weeks later I tried it again because I felt like I couldn’t take a truly deep breath. Because lobelia is a wonderful relaxant for the nervous system as well as for the respiratory system so I thought I’d try again with a smaller amount and it worked beautifully without any nausea or itching. I was so enthusiastic about the plant that I bought a seedling for my herb garden.
References: A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieves, 494- 496; Back to Eden, Jethro Kloss, 141-152; Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman, 212