Latin Name: Lobelia inflata
Also known as: Asthma weed, Indian pink, Indian tobacco, pukeweed, vomit weed.
Description: A 1-3 foot tall annual. It contains a milky sap, much branched with an erect, angular, hairy stem. The alternate, hairy leaves with obvious veins are lanceolate and bluntly serrate. Pale violet, tubular flowers have a 2-lipped corolla with 2 erect upper lobes and 3 spreading lower lobes, occurring rather far apart in loose spike-like racemes. As flowers mature, an inflated ovoid pod is formed, containing numerous small brown seeds. Found throughout eastern and central U.S. in fields, waste areas.
Actions: It is a antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant & sedative.
Origin(s): India, United States.
Plant Part Used: Herb (above ground parts)
Appearance: Greenish to beige.
Aroma: Faintly irritant.
GMO Status: Non-GMO and unsprayed.
Additives: Free of any additives or preservatives.
Applications / Preparations: Can be put into capsules, teas, smoking blends or infused as an herbal extract. For cosmetic use can be infused in oil for use in salves, lotions & other topical formulations. For household use can be used to repel mosquitoes when burned as incense over smoldering charcoal.
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Shelf Life: It is very difficult to pin down an exact expiration date for most single herbs as they do not really expire, they lose potency or strength over time but will still have value. Unlike synthetic material or drugs, herbs can contain many constituents that contribute to their medicinal effects. Even if when we know what the active constituents are, there are often many of them in a single herb, each with different rates of degradation. Some herbs lose their effect more easily. Other herbs that possess more stable compounds such as alkaloids or steroids will last much longer.
A huge part of the degradation rate of herbs depends also on the storage conditions of the herb, & even on the quality of the herb before storage – how it was grown, harvested, dried & processed. If the product is left in hot places or open to sunlight then it will degrade much quicker than if it was stored in cool, dry place & sealed tightly.
A good rule of thumb is that herbs should be stored no longer than 2-3 years but many herbs will have great strength much longer than that. To determine if a an herb is still good you can check the appearance & aroma. Herbs that are no longer acceptable will have lost much of its vibrant color & will instead appear dull & faded. The bigger key though is to smell the raw materials to see if the potent aroma is still present.