Chinese Lobelia
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Chinese Lobelia
P Native Photo: Niku Das
Common name: Chinese Lobelia
Botanical name: Lobelia chinensis    Family: Campanulaceae (Bell flower family)
Synonyms: Lobelia campanuloides, Lobelia japonica, Lobelia roxburghiana

Chinese Lobelia is a perennial herb with stems prostrate, slender, 6-30 cm tall, hairless, lower nodes rooted. Flowers are rose, white, or bluish, 1-1.5 cm, divided to base at back, white hairy below throat; petals all spreading in a plane on anterior side; lateral 2 petals lanceshaped or inverted-lanceshaped, longer than others, central 3 elliptic. Filament tube is 6-8 mm, fused above middle, anther tube 2-2.5 mm. Sepal-cup is narrowly obconical, base narrowed, not well distinguished from flower-stalk, 3-5 mm, hairless; sepals lanceshaped, as long as tube, margin entire or with a pair of denticles. Flowers are usually solitary, in leaf-axils at upper leaves of branches. Flower-stalks are slender, 1.2-2.5 cm. Leaves are alternate, stalkless or nearly so, blade narrowly elliptic, elliptic, or lanceshaped, 7-26 x 1.5-7 mm, hairless, base rounded, blunt, or broadly wedge-shaped, margin entire or obviously sawtoothed at upper part, tip pointed or tapering.Capsule is obconic, 6-7 mm. Chinese Lobelia is found in Central Himalaya to Japan. Flowering: May-October.
Medicinal uses: Chinese Lobelia is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs in Chinese herbology. The whole plant is antiphlogistic, depurative, diuretic and febrifuge. Taken as an alcoholic macerate, it is used as a lung tonic and for the treatment of tuberculosis, asthma and bloody vomiting. A strong decoction is taken as a diuretic and cathartic; it can stimulate respiration, lower the blood pressure, stop bleeding and reduce swellings. Applied externally as a decoction or as a poultice of the fresh leaves, it is used in the treatment of swellings, sores and abscesses; the bites and stings of poisonous insects and animals; tooth abscesses, ascites and traumatic injuries. The fresh plant can also be crushed and used as a poultice.

Identification credit: Niku Das Photographed in Monabarie T.E., Sonitpur, Assam.

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