Ban Bian Lian

Herba Lobelia

Chemical Constituents

L-lobeline, lobelanine, norlobelanine, isolobinine, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, chelidonic acid, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Potassium, Pyridine-alkaloids. [3] [4] [5]


Due to the severity of side effects and the potential for complications with dosages that are too high, any dosage of Herba Lobelia should be determined by a trained professional.



H. lobelia effects therapeutically in the heart, lungs and small intestines. The herb has sweet, cold and bland properties.  Its mechanism involves removal of dampness in the tissues which causes edema. It is used to remove toxicity, improve urination and cool the blood. [1]



Dopamine inhibitor activity:


The alkaloid lobeline of H. lobelia has been found to affect dopamine metabolism by inhibiting dopamine uptake and promoting its release.  Further exploration of this action led researchers to determine that use of lobeline in an animal model reduced the amphetamine induced dopamine release in animals dosed with amphetamine and methamphetamine.  No symptoms of addiction were noted. [7] Further examination of this action has been demonstrated with lobelane, a synthetic version of the alkaloid. [4]

Anti-depressant activity:

H. lobelia has also been studied for its anti-depressant activity in several animal models. [8][9] The active constituent determined to be responsible for this actions is beta-amyrin palmitate, isolated from the leaf of the plant. [10]


No documentation

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

Not to be used in combination with any prescription drug therapy.

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

The potential side effects and possible interactions with other drugs are significant with this herb.  Therefore it should only be used under supervision of a trained professional.

Ban Bian Jian has been known to cause tachycardia. [6]

Large doses of the pyridine alkaloid, lobeline can cause vomiting, paralysis, coma and death. [2]

Ban Bian Jian is considered to have psychoactive properties and should be avoided without careful guidance by a licensed practitioner. [6]


Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.

Age limitation

Keep out of reach of children.

Adverse reaction

Overdosage of Ban Bian Jian can result in poisoning with symptoms of nausea, headache, hypertension, seizure, coma and in some cases, death. [1][2]


  1. D. Bensky, S. Clavey, E. Stoger, A. Gamble.  Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, 3rd Edition. Seattle WA:Eastland Press;2004.317.
  2. W.H. Lewis, M.P.F. Elvin-Lewis. Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Man’s Health. NY:Wiley-Interscience;1977.
  3. Duke, A. James. Handbook of phytochemical constituents of GRAS herbs and other economic plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1992.
  4. N.M. Neugebauer. Lobelane decreases methamphetamine self-administration in rats. Eur J Pharmacol. 24Sep2007;571(1):33-38
  5. F.X. Felpin. History, chemistry and biology of alkaloids from Lobelia inflate. Tetrahedron. Jan 2004;60(45):10127-10153.
  6. L.G. Miller, W.J. Murray. Herbal Medicinals: A Clinician’s Guide. NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press; 1998.
  7. L.P. Dwoskin. A novel mechanism of action and potential use for lobeline as a treatment for psychostimulant abuse. Biochem Pharmacol. 15Jan2002;63(2):89-98.
  8. L. Teng. Lobeline displaces [3H]dihydrotetrabenazine binding and releases [3H]dopamine from rat striatal synaptic vesicles: comparison with d-amphetamine. J Neurochem. Jul1998;71(1):258-265.
  9. A. Subarnas. An antidepressant principle of Lobelia inflata L. (Campanulaceae). J Pharm Sci. Jul1992;81(7):620-621.
  10. A. Subarnas. Pharmacological properties of beta-amyrin palmitate, a novel centrally acting compound, isolated from Lobelia inflata leaves.J Pharm Pharmacol. Jun1993;45(6):545-550.