Lobelia Herb – Lobelia inflata

Current Demand = Normal
Demand: Poor – Normal – Good

Parts Used: Herb
Current Market Price = $ varies/lb.

Lobelia Herb - Lobelia inflata Lobelia Herb - Lobelia inflata
Lobelia Herb - Lobelia inflata Lobelia Herb - Lobelia inflata


The Lobelia is an erect annual or biennial herb that grows 1-2 feet high with lower lance-shaped leaves alternate and be reach 3 inches in length. The flowers are irregular in shape and are up to .25inches wide. The flowers are pale violet-blue tinted pale yellow within and are in bloom from summer to autumn. The lower lip is bearded inside the base. It is also called Indian tobacco.


Growing region: Lobelia can be found from Nova Scotia south to Georgia, west to Louisiana and Kansas and north to Minnesota. Most common in areas of Kentucky, Tennessee and the Midwest. Often found in fields and waste areas as well as open woods.

Lobelia prefers the full sun or light shade and light, medium and heavy soil. It prefers acid, neutral and basic soils and moist soil.

Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ. The seed usually germinates within 2 weeks.


Parts Used: herb

For Maximum potency Lobelia should be harvested in mid to late summer months when the seed pods have matured. When gathering Lobelia only harvest the parts above the ground not the root. Lobelia has a shallow root system so you will need to cut the plant rather than try and pull the plant from the ground. If the roots are left on the plant, the price you receive at market will be discounted. Cut the plant off at ground level to allow the root system to stay in tact for future growth.

Gather the larger more mature plants leaving plenty of younger smaller plants so seed the are for future harvest. For drying purposes and to preserve the green color gather lobelia I the afternoon once the morning dew has dried.

After harvest, remove all foreign matter (rocks, weeds and roots) and spread in a thin layer immediately. Lobelia can be dried outdoors though it in needs to be dried out of the sun. At night cover your passion flower to keep the dew from setting on the drying herb. When possible dry indoors in a well ventilated barn loft or attic to protect from the elements. If natural heat is not available you may need to add heat to a room and a fan for continuous airflow. Whether you are drying indoors or outside you will need to turn or stir the herb daily. Turn the plants carefully and try to preserve as much of the seed as possible.

The key to drying any root, herb or bark is an even combination of heat and airflow. Never dry in an oven or microwave.

The lobelia will take 3-7 days to completely dry (largest stem will snap not bend and leaves will crumble) depending on the drying conditions. Once the lobelia is dry, place the plants in a dry area until ready to sell or use. Do not store the lobelia in plastic or it will mold.

Attributes (Images)

By H. Zell (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Fritzflohrreynolds (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons