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Coleus forskohlii

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:



Coleus forskohlii is a plant in the mint family. Forskolin is a compound found in the root of the plant. Both have been used to improve eye health and promote weight loss. It can be taken as a pill, powder, or used as eye drops. It can also be inhaled under medical supervision and given by IV by a healthcare provider.


250 milligrams 2 to 3 times daily

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Glaucoma —may lower eye pressure when used with standard treatment B1-B3

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Asthma A1
  • Weight Loss C1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It may be safe to take small doses of coleus forskohlii for a short period of time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to take for a long period or by those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. Asthma

A1. Huerta M, Urzúa Z, et al. Forskolin compared with beclomethasone for prevention of asthma attacks: a single-blind clinical trial. J Int Med Res. 2010 Mar-Apr;38(2):661-668.

B. Glaucoma

B1. Ventrugno M, Uva MG, et al. Oral administration of forskolin and rutin contributes to intraocular pressure control in primary open angle glaucoma patients under maximum tolerated medical therapy. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2012;28(5):536-541.

B2. Nebbioso M, Rusciano D, et al. Treatment of glaucomatous patients by means of food supplement to reduce the ocular discomfort: a double blind randomized trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Apr;17(8):1117-1122.

B3. Loskutova E, O'Brien C, et al. Nutritional supplementation in the treatment of glaucoma: A systematic review. Surv Ophthalmol. 2019 Mar -Apr;64(2):195-216.

C. Weight Loss

C1. Godard MP, Johnson BA, et al. Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men. Obes Res. 2005;13(8):1335-1343.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/17/2020