Lobelia - a surefire spasmolytic
Chanchal Cabrera MNIMH, AHG
When I was a student in the herbal training clinic in London in 1985, I was presented with my first, and worst ever, case of bronchitis and emphysema. The man was completely breathless without any exertion and I could hear him wheezing and gasping in the waiting room while I was in the consulting room! He was desperately trying to get all the air he could, using all the accessory muscles of respiration (trapezius, sterno-cleidomastoid, platysma, scalenes), and his shoulders were up around his ears. His wife accompanied him and did all the talking because he couldn’t get enough air to talk. He really should have been on a respirator but in the cash-strapped National Health Service you have to take your turn on the waiting list. As the consultation unfolded, I realized that he was very unhappy with his wife’s comments and the way she told his story and that I needed to get him to talk and get her out of the way. Being a neophyte herbalist and not at all sure of myself I suggested that we try a little massage to relax him and see if he could breathe and talk easier. He agreed so I went to the dispensary to get some oil. And inspiration struck! I took a small bowl and poured in some almond oil. To this I added equal parts of the tinctures of Lobelia inflata and Viburnum opulus. I warmed it in a water bath and began to massage it into the old man’s shoulders, chest and back. Within about 10 minutes his muscles were visibly softening and his shoulders were dropping. Within 15 minutes he was talking fairly easily and I was able to continue to take his case history. It turned out that I couldn’t cure his chronic lung condition, but his wife gave him regular massages with the Lobelia liniment which gave him marked symptomatic relief.
When I opened my store, The Gaia Garden Herbal Dispensary, in 1993, the lobelia liniment was one of the first products we put on the shelves and it has been a best seller ever since. I am happy to share the recipe, revised and refined over the years, with the readers of Medical Herbalism and I know you will find it remarkably effective.
Let Go Liniment
Useful for all skeletal and smooth muscle cramping, stiffness, soreness and tension.
Menstrual cramps, Athletic over use, Tension headaches, abdominal cramps, Spasmodic coughing, Urinary spasms
250 mL each of the infused oils of Pokeroot and Juniper
250 mL each of the tinctures of Lobelia and Cramp bark
10 mL each of the essential oils of Rosemary, Black pepper, Wintergreen and
Shake well together and apply over
affected area as needed.