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Coleus Forskohlii

Author: Dr. Edward Group 05/26/2009

Coleus Forskohlii – the only plant source of forskolin

  • Coleus forskohlii Briq. (synonyms, C. barbatus Benth., Plectranthus forskohlii Willd., P. barbatus Andr. and P. comosus Willemse) a member of the mint family (fam. Lamiaceae), is indigenous to Ayurvedic Medicine.
  • This species is a perennial herb with fleshy, fibrous roots that grows wild in the warm subtropical temperate areas in India, Burma and Thailand.
  • In India, it is cultivated for use as a condiment1.
  • In recent years, Coleus forskohlii has gained recognition As the only known plant source of the diterpene, forskolin.
  • Forskolin is valued as an adenylate cyclase activator.
  • Adenylate cyclase is the enzyme involved in the production of Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP), (a significant biochemical agent involved in metabolic processes), from the high energy molecule, ATP (Adenosine triphosphate).
  • Nicknamed in literature as a “second messenger,” cyclic AMP facilitates the action of “primary messengers” or various hormonal and bioactive substances in the body.
  • The role of cyclic AMP is indispensable to many body functions.
  • Cyclic AMP induces a chain of biochemical events that trigger metabolic processes and diet induced thermogenesis3, thereby providing the means to maintain a healthy body composition and lean body mass levels.


1.Bruneton, Jean. (1995) Coleus forskohlii in Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants, Lavoisier Publishing Company, 521. Souza, N.J. (1991) Coleus forskohlii Briq.- The Indian plant source for forskohlin. Recent Advances in Medicinal, Aromatic & Spice crops, (ed: S..P. Raychaudhuri.) Today and Tomorrow’s printers and Publishers, New Delhi, India, Vol I: 83-91.

3.Palou, A. , et al. (1998) The uncoupling protein, thermogenin. Int. J. Biochem. Cell Biol., 30(1):7-11.

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