Creeping Lobelia

Creeping Lobelia | Bàn Biān Lián
COMMON NAME (Chinese Name)

Creeping Lobelia (Bàn Biān Lián)


Lobelia Chinensis


Creeping lobelia extracts include nearly 50 different distinct chemical compounds, most of which are responsible for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s no surprise, then, that one of its most common historical and contemporary (oral) uses is as a fever-reducer. More surprising (proven) uses include the treatment of abdominal edema (due to its diuretic properties) and hypertension/atherosclerosis (due to its anticholinergic properties). It may also have significant detoxifying effects, as its historical uses also include the treatment of jaundice, abscesses, and insect or snake bites.

Creeping lobelia is categorized in Chinese medicine as an herb that drains dampness by increasing urination.  It is classified as slightly cold, sweet and bland, and affects the Heart, Small Intestine and Lung channels.

New research suggests that creeping lobelia may also have significant anti-cancer properties (especially when protecting the stomach, intestines, and colon) though much more research is needed to say whether and which kinds of tumors it may protect against in humans. Similarly, topical applications of creeping lobelia may have significant antimicrobial properties, though more research is needed to determine which and to what extent it affects different bacterial strains.

Oral uses of creeping lobelia also have significant reported and proven effects as an expectorant. As a result, it is not uncommon for people to drink creeping lobelia decoctions to help promote the expulsion of phlegm and mucus from the airways. It may also have some muscle relaxant and sedative effects, given its relationship to other variants of lobelia (which are known for these effects), making it a go-to remedy for persistent coughs that cause muscle pain and inhibit sleep.


Not to be confused with the North American variant, Lobelia inflata, which is best known for its emetic effects.

Creeping lobelia supplements often use the whole plant, having first been dried and shredded/crushed. Most medicinal applications involve drinking oral decoctions of creeping lobelia, though there are some topical applications of its extracts.


Due to its diuretic effects, oral creeping lobelia supplementation may cause stomach upset and increased urine output, as well as dehydration and dizziness. There is limited information about other potential interactions and side-effects, so people with chronic health conditions and who are taking medications should talk to their doctor before taking it.

You should consult with a certified herbalist, physician or other qualified healthcare professional before taking Creeping lobelia.



Chen, John, Chen, T &  Cramton, L. Art of Medicine Press, Inc. City of Industry, CA USA. 2003. 1327 pp ISBN: 0-9740635-0-9 , http://aompress.com/herbology

Chen, John, Chen, T &  Cramton, L. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology Art of Medicine Press, Inc. City of Industry, CA USA. 2003. 1327 pp ISBN: 0-9740635-0-9  http://aompress.com/herbology

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Han, S, et al. “A Study on the Effect of Aqueous Extract of Lobelia Chinensis on Colon Precancerous Lesions in Rats.” African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, vol. 10, no. 6, Sept. 2013, p. 422., doi:10.4314/ajtcam.v10i6.2.

Joshi, Shivani, et al. “Essential Oil Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of Lobelia Pyramidalis Wall.” EXCLI Journal, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, 6 Dec. 2011,

Kuo, P., Hwang, T., Lin, Y. et al. Chemical constituents from Lobelia chinensis and their anti-virus and anti-inflammatory bioactivities. Arch. Pharm. Res. 34, 715 (2011) doi:10.1007/s12272-011-0503-7

Li, Kun-Cheng, et al. “Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lobelia Chinensis In Vitro and In Vivo.” The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, vol. 43, no. 02, 2015, pp. 269–287., doi:10.1142/s0192415x15500184.

Wang. “THE RESEARCH ADVANCE ON MODERN DETOXIFICATION DRUG RESEARCH METHODS.” International Journal of Current Multidisciplinary Studies , vol. 2, no. 1, 2016, pp. 101–116.


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