What Is It?
In India, practitioners of traditional Ayurvedic medicine have long used the herb Coleus forskohlii to treat asthma, heart disease, and a range of other ailments. The small mint-family herb is also found in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Nepal.
In the 1970s, researchers isolated a chemically active ingredient in the herb and called it forskolin. Now available in supplement form, this extract is commonly recommended for treating hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone. Forskolin is believed to stimulate the release of thyroid hormone, thus relieving such hypothyroidism symptoms as fatigue, depression, weight gain, and dry skin. Specifically, forskolin is thought to increase thyroid function by activating an enzyme that raises levels of a key cell-regulating substance called cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate).
In addition to hypothyroidism, a number of other seemingly unrelated conditions have been linked to low levels of cAMP and may theoretically respond to forskolin treatment. These include asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, eczema, and psoriasis. Countless laboratory and small-animal studies have been done to examine the benefits of forskolin for these disorders, but none have apparently been conducted in humans so far.
Forskolin is typically taken over the long-term for hypothyroidism; it should not be used in addition to thyroid hormone replacement therapy, however.
Forskolin causes the arteries to relax. Because this can lower blood pressure, forskolin should not be used in tandem with blood pressure-lowering medications.
Forskolin relaxes the bronchial muscles and may dangerously increase the potency or action of certain asthma drugs, including albuterol, theophylline, and beclomethasone. Never alter how much asthma medication you take without consulting a doctor first. Note: For information on interactions with specific generic drugs, see our WholeHealth Chicago Drug/Nutrient Interactions Chart.
Preliminary findings indicate that for most people, forskolin is safe to take at commonly recommended dosages. However, because forskolin appears to increase the secretion of digestive juices, it’s probably wise for people with stomach or duodenal ulcers to avoid it.
People with low blood pressure should consult a doctor before taking forskolin to avoid complications.
Thyroid Disease For hypo: 50 mg twice a day