Coleus Forskohlii extract, herb supplement benefit, dosage, medical uses by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
September 2
5 2016

Coleus forskohlii is an important traditional Ayurvedic herb that has been a part of Indian medicine for centuries. An extract from the plant has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to treat various diseases such as hypothyroidism, heart disease and respiratory disorders. In the 1970s researchers isolated a unique chemically active extract from the herb and called it forskolin. Now available in supplement form, coleus forskohlii extract has been tested in a number of conditions.

Paradise Herbs, Coleus Forskolii, 60 Veggie Caps
Buy Coleus forskohlii extract, 60 Capsules

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Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 Vegetarian Capsule
  Amount Per Vegetarian Capsule % Daily Value
Coleus Forskolii root extract (10% forskolin) 250 mg *
*Daily Value not established.

Suggested use: One capsule coleus forskohlii extract once or twice daily before breakfast or lunch.

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Supplement Facts
Coleus Forskohlii root extract 50 mg -
Standardized to contain 18% Forskolin (9 mg per capsule)
Modern extraction and analytical techniques are used to produce the highest quality extract available. Each batch of Coleus Forskohlii extract is analyzed and guaranteed to contain a minimum of 18% forskolin.

Chemical composition, what is in the herb
In addition to forskolin, this herb has labdane diterpene glycosides forskoditerpenosides A, B. Additional compounds include deoxycoleon U,
coleonol, alpha-amyrin, demethylcryptojaponol, betulic acid, alpha-cedrol and beta-sitosterol.

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The potent herbal extracts in Passion Rx include Ashwagandha, Aspallum purificata, Catuaba, Cnidium, Coleus forskohlii, Damiana herb, DMAE nootropic nutrient, Jujube extract, Horny goat weed extract, Maca, Mucuna pruriens, Muira puama, Passion flower, Pfaffia paniculata, Rehmannia, Rhodiola, Tribulus, and tongkat ali. There is also a version of Passion Rx with yohimbe.

Coleus forskohlii research - use for weight loss
Pharmacognosy Res. January 2014. Effect of Coleus forskohlii extract on cafeteria diet-induced obesity in rats. This study was designed to determine the effect of Coleus forskohlii on obesity and associated metabolic changes in rats fed with cafeteria diet.OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to evaluate antiobesogenic and metabolic benefits of C. forskohlii in cafeteria diet induced obesity rat model. Rats were divided into five groups of six animals in each group and as follows:  Normal pellet diet group; cafeteria diet group; cafeteria diet followed by 50 mg/kg/d Coleus forskohlii extract (CFE), 100 mg/kg/d CFE and 45 mg/kg/d orlistat groups, respectively. Indicators of obesity such as food intake, body weight and alteration in serum lipid profiles were studied. Feeding of cafeteria diet induced obesity in rats. Administration of CFE significantly halted increase in food intake and weight gain associated with cafeteria diet. Development of dyslipidemia was also significantly inhibited. The observed effects validate that supplementation of CFE with cafeteria diet could curb the appetite and mitigate the development of dyslipidemia.

Effects of Coleus forskohlii on Fat Storage in Ovariectomized Rats.
Yakugaku Zasshi. 2005.
The antiobesity effects of Coleus forskohlii were investigated in ovariectomized (ovx) rats. Eight-week-old female Wistar rats were assigned to four groups: a sham-operated group fed the control diet (MF, sham-m) ; an ovx-m group fed the control diet; a sham-operated group fed the control diet containing 50 g/kg of Coleus forskohlii extract (sham-c) ; and an ovx-c group fed the control diet containing 50 g/kg of Coleus forskohlii extract. The body weight, adipose tissues, and cell diameter were investigated in ovx rats after Coleus forskohlii extract treatment. Administration of Coleus forskohlii extracts reduced body weight, food intake, and fat accumulation in ovx rats.

Induction of Drug Metabolism by Forskolin, the Role of The Pregnane X Receptor and the PKA Signal Transduction Pathway.
J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2004. University of Kansas.
Forskolin is a widely used biochemical tool that activates adenyl cyclase, thereby increasing intracellular concentration of cAMP, and thus activating the PKA signal transduction pathway. Forskolin induces CYP3A gene expression in primary hepatocytes by functioning as agonists of the pregnane X receptor.

Some marketers are promoting the extract forskolin from coleus forskohlii as a way to maintain lean body mass. They call this extract Forslean. A study published in the December 2005 Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition entitled "Effects of Coleus forskohlii extract supplementation on body composition and markers of health in sedentary overweight females" says that ForsLean, Sabinsa Corporation's patented Coleus forskohlii extract, promotes favorable changes in body composition. The 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 23 overweight women conducted by researchers in the Exercise & Sport Nutrition Lab at the Center for Exercise, Nutrition & Preventive Health Research at Baylor University revealed that individuals receiving ForsLean coleus forskohlii extract showed decreases in body mass and reported less fatigue and hunger. Additionally, no clinically significant interactions were seen in metabolic markers, blood lipids, muscle and liver enzymes, electrolytes, red cells, white cells, hormones (insulin, TSH, T3, T4), heart rate or blood pressure. Study participants were given either 250 mg of ForsLean (standardized to 10 percent diterpene forskolin) or a placebo twice daily for 12 weeks. ForsLean is an extract derived from Coleus forskohlii roots, and the only known plant source of forskolin, a natural compound that has been shown to increase lean body mass and help optimize body composition through cAMP activation.

Coleus forskohlii extract for asthma
Relaxant effects of forskolin on guinea pig tracheal smooth muscle.
Lung. 1987.
We investigated the relaxant effects of forskolin, a diterpene derivative isolated from the roots of Coleus forskohlii, on guinea pig airway smooth muscle. Forskolin caused dose-dependent relaxant effects on resting tone and on leukotriene C4, leukotriene D4, and carbachol-induced contraction of tracheal smooth muscle. Moreover, with propranolol pretreatment the relaxant effect of forskolin on tracheal smooth muscle did not change, whereas with the same pretreatment the relaxant effect of isoproterenol diminished. These results suggest that forskolin relaxes airway smooth muscle in guinea pigs in vitro and in vivo by raising tissue cyclic AMP levels and that its actions are independent of beta-adrenoceptors.

Q. My local newspaper had a about the research on coleus forskohlii and chronic bladder infections. I recently ordered a bottle and am taking it along with Macrobid one time a day as a preventative. I have a fifty year history of UTIs and am always on antibiotics.
   A. Yes, we saw this article but since no human studies are yet available, we don't know if coleus forskohlii supplement will work in humans, and if it does what the ideal dosage would be and how often it should be taken.

Blood pressure, hypertension
Does coleus forskohlii reduce blood pressure?
   We have not seen any definitive human research evaluating its role in hypertension in humans but it appears that coleonol, a substance found in this herb, can reduce blood pressure in rodents.

Q. Does coleus forskolii work for decreasing ocular pressure? Is the coleus forskolii in Passion Rx the same amount as it is in the product that just contains the herb bi tiself? The person who is wanting to find an alternative to prescription eye drops is experiencing problems that the passion Rx works well for; this person thought it had to do with side effects of the prescription eye drops as low libido and fatigue are common side effects. Do you know of research for lowered ocular pressure and use of coleus forskolii? I have only seen it for losing weight and for healthy subjects (not those with glaucoma) related to ocular pressure.
   A. We have not seen any clinical studies regarding the use of a coleus forskohlii supplement and ocular pressure measurements. The amount of coleus forskohlii in Passion Rx is much much less than in a capsule of a pure coleus forskohlii product.

HIV benefit
Anti-HIV diterpenes from Coleus forskohlii.
Nat Prod Commun. 2009. Department of Natural Products, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER). Nagar, Punjab, India.
Various extracts of the aerial parts of Coleus forskohlii were prepared and evaluated at their non cytotoxic concentration against HIV-1 NL4-3. Chloroform, ethyl acetate and n-butanol extracts showed inhibition of HIV, respectively in CEM-GFP cells infected with HIV-1(NL4-3). Four diterpenes, 1-deoxyforskolin, 1,9-dideoxyforskolin, forskolin and isoforskolin were isolated from the chloroform extract and tested against the virus. Six semi-synthetic derivatives of forskolin have been prepared to study SAR. 1-Deoxyforskolin and forskolin were found to be active against HIV(NL4-3). This is first report of anti HIV activity of this plant and its isolated constituents.

Mechanism of action
Forskolin is a diterpene from the roots of the Indian plant coleus forskohli which directly activates adenylate cyclase and raises cyclic AMP levels in a variety of tissues.
Cyclic AMP is an important cell regulating compound. Once formed it activates many other enzymes involved in diverse cellular functions. Under normal situations cAMP is formed when a stimulatory hormone (e.g., epinephrine) binds to a receptor site on the cell membrane and stimulates the activation of adenylate cyclase. This enzyme is incorporated into all cellular membranes and only the specificity of the receptor determines which hormone will activate it in a particular cell. Forskolin appears to bypass this need for direct hormonal activation of adenylate cyclase. As a result of this direct activation of adenylate cyclase, intracellular cAMP levels rise. The physiological and biochemical effects of a raised intracellular cAMP level include: inhibition of platelet activation; inhibition of mast cell degranulation and histamine release; increased force of contraction of heart muscle; relaxation of the arteries and other smooth muscles; increased insulin secretion; and increased thyroid function.

Availability from herb and ingredient suppliers
Coleus forskohlii is available as a plain powder or in various extract potencies, for instance 10 percent, 18 percent, and 20 percent forskolin.

Safety, side effects
None are fully understood at this time.

Are there any known reactions or side effects to the use of coleus forskohlii when a person is on prescription drugs? I saw Duke university report and am interested in the product.
   Few human studies have been done with coleus forskohlii, therefore we don't know what kind of interactions there could be when this herb or its extract is combined with prescription medicines.

Q. I'm looking for a source for coleus forskohlii -- in tea or ground forms. Do you know where I can get this in bulk? I'd prefer that it be organically grown, since it's for an eye compress to treat borderline glaucoma.
   A. The suppliers we are aware of only sell coleus forskohlii powder in large quantities such as 25 kilo.

Q. I was finding out more about coleus forskohlii and would like to ask you about this warning I found. Please google the words, Warning on adverse reactions from Coleus Forskolii Briq. They leave off the h. Please tell me what you think. Is this safe to take? They mention atropine as having similar coleus forskohlli side effects. It says, "Warning on adverse reactions from Coleus Forskolii Briq. The Italian pharmaceutical authority has discovered that specific products containing the substance foskolin may cause adverse reactions. The adverse reactions are similar to those arising from treatment with atropine. These are the preparations concerned:
* Coleus Forskolii 20%
* Coleus Forskolii 10%
   The preparations are not marketed as medicinal products in Denmark. People using the products are encouraged to stop using it. The Danish Medicines Agency, 25 May 2005.
   A. We have not seen such adverse effects reports regarding coleus forskohlii use in the United States. Perhaps they are referring to a contaminated batch of coleus forkohlii made in Europe.