Coleus forskohlii is a herb mostly used in Ayurveda.
Coleus forskohlii is a member of the mint family belonging to the subtropical regions of Asia and Africa, namely, India, Uganda, and Thailand. The plant of this supplement grows to the height of 60cm. The leaves of the plant are soft and large. The flowers of the plant are purple-blue in color and appear in a clustered form appearing from fall to the late spring. The scientific name of the supplement is Plectranthus barbarous. Lamiaceae. Other common names include Forskolin, HL-362, NKH477, Indian coleus, etc.
The plant of Forskolins is a component of the commercial preparation for treatment of Asthma, GlucoLean, Meta-Burn EF, and ForsLean. The species of the supplement and other related species of the mint family have been also used in many traditional medical systems in places such as Brazil, Africa, India and also other Asian countries. Recently, it is used as a treatment for a fat burning supplement. Forskolin is the main bioactive ingredient of Coleus forskohlii. The supplement functions by increasing the cellular levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). The high levels of cAMP are associated with fat burning and thus helps in improving the effects of other compounds.
There are human studies conducted to find out the interaction between Forskolin and obesity. The doses of 250mg of 10% extract of Forskolin given to overweight women helped in reducing the weight gain. However, no significant weight loss was observed in an experimental group, but significant differences between the experimental and control group were reported. Further, in overweight men, the same dose of 250mg of 10% extract caused favorable changes in the body composition over a time period of 12 weeks.
The experimental group had high levels of testosterone and bone mass. Another study did not analyze weight changes but it reported that over the period of 2 months with a dosage of 500-700mg the Coleus Forskohlii the BMI reduced by 2.38-2.6%. However, there are notable differences between the obese humans and normal weight individuals as the obese persons have lower activity of adenylate cyclase enzymes in the fat cells, which is partially corrected during weight loss through caloric restriction. Further, men are at advantageous as the testosterone hormone acts as a fat burner and muscle preserving agent.
The study conducted on overweight men who were fed 250mg of the Coleus Forskohlii supplement twice a day reported no significant effect on the increasing metabolic rate.
However, quality trials of the effect of the Forskolin supplement are lacking to validate the claims that are made for weight loss. Also, there are limited studies with oral and inhaled supplements in patients suffering from asthma.