Coleus Forskohlii for Weight Loss
and other Health Problems


       Coleus forskohlii (AKA Forskolin) is a member of the mint family of herbs.  The roots of the plant contain a compound called forskolin.  Coleus forskohlii stimulates the production of a molecule called cyclic AMP (cAMP).  In our body, cyclic AMP helps our cells “talk” to each other. One of the things that cAMP tells our cells to do is increase an enzyme called hormone sensitive lipase. This is a fat burning enzyme.  The cAMP also seems to stimulate the release of thyroid hormone which also helps burn fat and calories.

       In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal Obesity Research in 2005, thirty overweight and obese men were given forskolin or a placebo.  Half of these men received Coleus forskohlii and half received a placebo. The men in this study took 250 mg of a supplement (ForsLean) that had 10 % Coleus forskohlii. They took the supplement twice a day. The study lasted 12 weeks.  Body fat was determined via DEXA, a very accurate body fat measurement technique that uses x rays.  At the end of the study, those getting Coleus forskohlii showed a reduction in body fat as well as an increase in bone mass and free serum testosterone levels.

       In another study, published in 2005 in the International Journal of the Society of Sports Nutrition, nineteen women were either given a Coleus forskohlii supplement (ForsLean)) which contained 250 mg of a 10% Coleus forskohlii extract. The supplement was taken twice a day. The other group received a placebo and the study lasted 12 weeks.  Body fat was determined via DEXA.  This study found that Coleus forskohlii did not promote any significant weight loss but it did seem to reduce the gaining of weight.

       In addition to weight loss, studies have shown that forskolin is a platelet aggregation inhibitor, relaxes vascular smooth muscle, decreases intraocular pressure due to glaucoma, and has anti-allergy potential since it inhibits IgE-mediated release of histamine and peptide leukotriene from human basophils and mast cells.  Forskolin has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of cancer metastasis in mice injected with malignant cells. In a study in psychiatry, researchers gave it intravenous to four depressed and five schizophrenic patients. All four depressed patients showed a transient mood elevation or stimulation, as did two of the five schizophrenic patients.

       In a clinical study in 2006, forty patients of either sex with mild persistent or moderate persistent asthma were assigned randomly to 6 months of treatment with forskolin at 10 mg a day orally (capsules) or with two inhalations of sodium cromoglycate three times a day. The number of patients who had asthma attacks during the treatment period was significantly lower among those receiving forskolin (40%) than among those receiving sodium cromoglycate (85%). It was concluded that forskolin is more effective than sodium cromoglycate in preventing asthma attacks in patients with mild persistent or moderate persistent asthma.