Forskolin is a chemical found in the roots of the plant Plectranthus barbatus (Coleus forskohlii). This plant has been used since ancient times to treat heart disorders such as high blood pressure and chest pain (angina), as well as respiratory disorders such as asthma.
When taken by mouth, forskolin is also used to treat allergies, skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, obesity, painful menstrual periods, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), urinary tract infections (UTI), bladder infections, advanced cancer,blood clots, sexual problems in men, trouble sleeping (insomnia), and convulsions.
Healthcare providers sometimes give forskolin intravenously (by IV) for heart failure.
Some people breathe in (inhale) forskolin powder for asthma.
Forskolin drops are used in the eyes to treat glaucoma.
Herbal product manufacturers are now producing Coleus forskohlii extracts that contain high levels of forskolin. These preparations are being promoted for the same conditions for which forskolin has been traditionally used. However, currently there is no reliable scientific information that shows Coleus forskohlii extracts taken by mouth are effective.
How does it work?
Forskolin works on muscles in the heart and in the walls of the blood vessels. It produces a more powerful heartbeat and widening of the blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure.
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