Coleus species have been used in the Asian traditional medicine to treat angina (chest pain), asthma, bronchitis, epilepsy, insomnia, painful urination, skin rashes, and a wide range of digestive problems. Since the 1970s, research was predominantly concentrated on forskolin, a root extract of Coleus forskohlii. Preliminary study suggests that forskolin may have clinical use in treating cardiovascular dilatation and bronchodilation, and reducing intra-ocular pressure.
Although most studies have used the isolated forskolin extract, it is believed that the whole coleus plant may be more effective, due to the presence of multiple compounds that may act synergistically. Generally, coleus appears to be well tolerated with few adverse effects.
Coleonol, coleus, Coleus barbatus Benth, Coleus blumei, Coleus carnosifolius, Coleus forskohlii, Coleus kilimandschari, Coleus parvifolius, Coleus scutellarioides, coleus solenostemon rotundifolius, Coleus xanthanthus, colforsin, colforsin daropate hydrochloride, forscolin, forskolin, Labiatae (family), Plectranthus barbatus, Plectranthus forskohlii, rosemary.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
There is a lack of sufficient data to recommend for or against the use of coleus in the treatment of bronchial asthma. Preliminary data appears to be promising. However, additional study is needed.
Forskolin may improve cardiovascular function in patients with cardiomyopathy. However, additional study is needed to confirm these findings.
Preliminary evidence suggests that coleus improves glaucoma. However, further studies are needed to establish the safety and efficacy of forskolin in glaucoma.
Anti-inflammatory action after cardiopulmonary bypass
There is a lack of sufficient data to recommend for or against the use of coleus, to patients recovering after cardiopulmonary bypass, for its anti-inflammatory effects.
Breathing aid for intubation
Pretreatment with coleus before intubation may be beneficial and advantageous, especially for middle-aged smokers. However, more research is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.
Depression and schizophrenia
Currently, there is a lack of sufficient evidence to recommend for or against the use of coleus in the management of patients with depression or schizophrenia.
Preliminary evidence suggests that forskolin may have a synergistic effect with prostaglandin E