Coleus (Coleus forskohlii) Dosing and Safety

safety

Allergies

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to Coleus forskohlii and related species. Rash may occur in sensitive individuals.

Side Effects and Warnings

Coleus is generally regarded as safe, although long-term safety data are lacking. Inhalation of forskolin may cause sore throat, upper respiratory tract irritation, mild to moderate cough, tremor, or restlessness. Coleus eye drops may produce a milky covering over the eyes.
Coleus may lower blood sugar and stimulate the thyroid gland. Use cautiously in patients with thyroid disorders. Also use cautiously in diabetic patients. Colenol, a compound isolated from coleus, stimulates insulin release.
Theoretically, coleus may increase the risk of bleeding. Use cautiously in patients with a history of bleeding, hemostatic disorders or drug-related hemostatic problems. Discontinue use in patients at least two weeks prior to surgical or dental procedure, due to risk of bleeding. Avoid use in patients with active bleeding.
Use cautiously in patients with low blood pressure or those at risk for hypotension. Also use cautiously in patients with heart disease or asthma.
Avoid during pregnancy due to possibility of abortifacient (abortion inducing) effects.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

There is a lack of scientific evidence on the use of coleus during pregnancy or lactation.

dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for coleus. Many natural medicine experts suggest 50 milligrams of coleus extract (18% forskolin), taken 1-3 times daily by mouth, although the safety or efficacy of these doses has not been demonstrated. A dose of 250 milligrams of less-concentrated coleus extract (1% forskolin) taken 1-3 times daily has also been commonly used. As a dried root, 6-12 grams daily has been used, and as a fluid extract, 6-12 milliliters daily has been used.
Colforsin daropate 0.5-0.75mcg/kg-1/min-1 has been used for its anti-inflammatory action after cardiopulmonary bypass and to aid in airway resistance after tracheal intubation. Although coleus has been studied for depression, schizophrenia, cardiomyopathy and glaucoma, no commercially available products have been proven safe for these uses.

Children (younger than 18 years)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for coleus in children.

interactions

Interactions with Drugs

When used with other blood thinning agents, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, coleus may increase the risk of bleeding.
Although not well studied in humans, forskolin may interact with antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure altering agents, asthma medications, beta-blockers, inotropic agents or thyroid medications. It may also interact with drugs used for cancer and weight loss, or drugs that are processed through the liver.
Coleus should be used cautiously when taken concurrently with agents that are dependent on pH and gastric action for breakdown and activation such as newer cephalosporin antibiotics, itraconazole, ketoconazole, and warfarin.
Although not well studied in humans, topical forskolin may significantly reduce intra-ocular pressure (IOP). When used with other medications that decrease IOP, it may result in additive effects.
Colenol, a compound isolated from coleus, stimulates insulin release and its use with blood sugar lowering agents or exogenous insulin may result in additive effects.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

When used with other blood thinning herbs or supplements, such as Ginkgo biloba and garlic, coleus may increase the risk of bleeding.
Although not well studied in humans, forskolin may interact with antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure altering agents, asthma agents, heart agents, inotropic agents or thyroid medications. It may also interact with herbs or supplements used for cancer and weight loss, or drugs that are processed through the liver.
Although not well studied in humans, topical forskolin may significantly reduce intra-ocular pressure (IOP). When used with other herbs or supplements that decrease IOP, it may result in additive effects.
Colenol, a compound isolated from coleus, stimulates insulin release, and its use with blood sugar lowering herbs or supplements, such as bitter melon, may result in additive effects.