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Coleus (Coleus forskohlii)

General Description

Coleus forskohlii (also known as makandi) is a perennial herb native to India, Nepal, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. A member of the mint family, it is one of over 150 coleus species, which, because of their colorful foliage, are commonly cultivated as ornamental plants. The roots of C. forskohlii, unlike other coleus species, are used for health purposes.

Health Applications

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Respiratory health

Chemical Composition

The active constituent in coleus is a diterpene derivative known as forskolin, which has demonstrated a wide range of physiological activity. Coleus forskohlii is the only coleus species that contains forskolin.


The daily dosage recommendation for coleus products depends on their forskolin content. A typical recommendation is 50 mg of an extract standardized to contain 18 percent forskolin, two to three times daily. Forskolin has shown very low toxicity in animal studies. Because forskolin may potentiate the effects of certain medications, people taking prescription antiasthmatics or blood pressure lowering drugs should only take coleus products under a doctor's supervision.