Forskolin VS Garcinia Cambogia~ Clinical Trials
Despite the fact that I’ve been in practice for more than 25 years, it is only recently that I encountered Coleus (which now goes by a different name since being categorized under the genus Plectranthus. To keep things clear, and since this is the name that is used most commonly, I will be calling it Coleus). The plant is fairly mysterious to me. A majority of the research has been conducted on an isolated constituent called Forskolin, and given the fact that the plant is not used widely, there isn’t very much anecdotal evidence available on use of the entire plant. Coleus is potentially an amazing healer. As I begin introducing it into my practice, I will hopefully obtain knowledge based on my experience to verify the following.
Coleus is a kind of Ayurvedic herb, which is part of the mint family and small perennial that grows in the subtropical areas of Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Nepal and India. It has a distinct camphor-like odor along with bright green leaves and tuberous roots. It contains essential oil and labdane diterpenes (which includes forskolin). It has a pungent taste, and from the perspective of Ayurvedic medincine, can balance all three of the doshas.
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For many centuries in India, the roots and leaves of Coleus have been one of the traditional remedies used for skin disease, convulsions, muscle spasms, insomnia, asthma, lung conditions and heart conditions. Coleus has had extensive research conducted on it since the 1970s, due to the findings that forskolin isolated from its roots has been shown to have some amazing therapeutic effects. The Indian Central Drug Research Institute and Hoechst Pharmaceuticals carried out research in 1974, as part of a search for new drug sources within the medicinal plant world. The findings showed that Coleus root extracts lowered blood pressure and reduced muscle spasms. The reason that researchers were drawn to the plant was due to it being related to the herb Coleus amboinicu, which is used by Ayurvedic medicine for treating dyspepsia, piles, convulsions, fevers, epilepsy, strangury, calculus, chronic coughs, asthma and colic. Its fresh juice is applied around the eyes for relieving conjunctivitis. Upon further investigation, it was thought that the chemical component called forskolin, which was isolated from Coleus forskohlii, was what was responsible for these actions. Currently, Forskolin is available as a supplement and prescription drug. It is recommended for treating glaucoma, obesity, psoriasis, eczema, asthma, allergies, hypothyroidism as well as conditions that are associated with muscle spasm, which include bladder pain, angina, hypertension and spastic colon. This again still pales in comparison to the best Garcinia Cambogia supplements and pills.
Additional studies have shown that the major action behind forskolin
effects is activation of a critical enzyme that raises cyclic adenosine monophosphate, (cAMP) levels. CAMP is an extremely vital cell-regulating compound. It acts as an additional messenger and alerts various membrane transport proteins which results in many other enzymes being activated that are involved in a wide array of cellular functions, which includes hormone activation. Forskolin, through increasing cAMP has been shown to provide a wide range of benefits, especially for the eyes, skin, immune system, digestive system, respiratory tract and circulatory system.
Forskolin, inside the circulatory system, inhibits platelet activity, which decreases blood clotting risk. This increases force of heart muscle contraction, which improves heart function, and it makes it worthwhile for patients to use who have congestive heart failure and angina. By relaxing smooth muscle and arteries, this helps to lower blood pressure through dilating blood vessels.
There is an immunomodulatory effect, which activates lymphocytes and macrophages. The findings show that as a powerful platelet aggregator inhibitor, it inhibits the tumor colonization and melanoma-induced platelet aggregation. This suggests that Coleus can be a potentially useful herb for managing cancer through inhibiting tumor metastases. Compared to Garcinia Cambogia, Garcinia IS hands down the better weight loss supplement.
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In addition, Coleus has great potential for treating allergies since allergic conditions like hay fever, eczema and astham are associated with high platelet activating factor (PAF) and low cAMP levels. Histamine release is reduced by forskolin and has also been shown that it inhibits the production of substances which trigger inflammatory response. Forskolin has been recommended to treat inflammatory skin problems such as eczema. It may also be helpful in treating psoriasis, which may be partially related to low cAMP levels in skin cells. This can potentially be a great herb for treating asthma via its antispasmodic action on smooth muscle and its antihistamine action, which provides a bronchodilatory effect. Apparently many drugs that are used for asthma increase cAMP through inhibiting enzymes which work to break it down. Therefore, Coleus may be useful when it comes to helping to wean patients off of the conventional asthma treatments they have been taking.
Forskolin has a relaxing effect on smooth muscle, which means that Coleus may be used for treating conditions like bladder pain, muscle cramping, convulsions, cramps and muscle tension. It is also used for treating colic that is caused by spasms within the GI tract. In addition it has the ability for promoting good digestion and enhancing digestive enzyme secretion.
It has also been shown that forskolin stimulates thyroid hormone being released. This helps to relieve numerous symptoms that are associated with hypothyroidism, like dry skin, weight gain, fatigue and depression. It improves energy and increases insulin production and fat metabolism. It has developed into a very popular remedy to help with managing obesity. Obese individual interestingly enough have a tendency to have low cAMP levels. It an be helpful in helping to relieve depression through improving neurotransmitter function.
Coleus can be specifically used for glaucoma when it is topically applied and is known to decrease intraocular pressure through reducing aqueous humour flow.
The problem with Coleus whole plant extracts is that up to this point, a majority of research has been conducted on isolated constituent forskolin. However, there are some sources that suggesting that clinical results where the whole plant was used are better. In general, the forskolin content in the root is at 0.2-0.3%. It might not be sufficient for producing the desired effect. Perhaps as a compromise, some individual recommend that standardized extracts be used to ensure a sufficient amount of forskolin (50 mg to ensure 9 mg of forskolin, 2 to 3 times per day). However, it is still worth taking into consideration that there might be other constituents supporting forskolin actions since it is usually the case when the whole plant is used. Nature knows best! Referring back to therapeutic effects provided by Coleus amboinicus, which is its relative and similar in many ways, might suggest that there are promising therapeutic benefits that can be derived from the whole plant, even though there is a fairly low forskolin content. Recommended doses are currently 3-15 mls at 1:3 at 25% tincture three times per day or 5 to 10 grams per day of the dried root.
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