Dortmanna campanuloides (Thunb.) Kuntze
Dortmanna chinensis (Lour.) Kuntze
Dortmanna radicans (Thunb.) Kuntze
Isolobus caespitosus (Blume) Hassk.
Isolobus campanuloides (Thunb.) A.DC.
Isolobus kerii A.DC.
Isolobus radicans (Thunb.) A.DC.
Isolobus roxburghianus A.DC.
Lobelia caespitosa Blume
Lobelia campanuloides Thunb.
Lobelia japonica F.Dietr.
Lobelia kerii (A.DC.) Heynh.
Lobelia radicans Thunb.
Lobelia roxburgiana (A.DC.) Heynh.
Pratia radicans G.Don
Pratia thunbergii G.Don
Rapuntium caespitosum (Blume) C.Presl
Rapuntium campanuloides (Thunb.) C.Presl
Rapuntium chinense (Lour.) C.Presl
Rapuntium radicans (Thunb.) C.Presl
Photograph by: Mokkie
Lobelia chinensis is a creeping or decumbent perennial plant with slender, branched stems that root at their lower nodes. The plant forms a clump of growth 6 - 30cm tall[
Although poisonous, this plant is often used in Chinese herbal medicine. It is frequently harvested from the wild and is traded in local markets.
Many, if not all, species in the genus Lobelia contain a range of piperidine alkaloids, particularly lobeline and lobelanine. If ingested, these can cause a range of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, salivation, exhaustion and weakness, dilation of pupils, convulsions, and coma. Generally, the degree of toxicity is only moderate and plants are only harmful in larger quantities - indeed several species have medicinal uses and a few are even eaten as wild foods[
This species contains the alkaloid lobeline which has a similar effect upon the nervous system as nicotine[
E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia.
Wet places, especially around paddy fields and in lowland all over Japan. Moist, grassy localities, along water courses and on cultivated land, like rice fields, tea and cinchona plantations, mainly between 500 - 1,600 metres[
At least in Malaysia, this species propagates mainly by vegetative means[
]. Stems or stolons are dispersed by various means, including water, and these root to form new plants[
This plant is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs[
The whole plant is antiphlogistic, depurative, diuretic and febrifuge[
]. Taken as an alcoholic macerate, it is used as a lung tonic and for the treatment of tuberculosis, asthma and bloody vomiting. A strong decoction is taken as a diuretic and cathartic; it can stimulate respiration, lower the blood pressure, stop bleeding and reduce swellings[
Applied externally as a decoction or as a poultice of the fresh leaves, it is used in the treatment of swellings, sores and abscesses; the bites and stings of poisonous insects and animals; tooth abscesses, ascites and traumatic injuries[
]. The fresh plant can also be crushed and used as a poultice[
The root is antiinflammatory, antirheumatic, antisyphilitic, cathartic, depurative and diuretic[
]. It is used in the treatment of kidney problems[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in spring[
Basal cuttings in spring[
]. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
Layering in moist sand, it forms roots at the nodes[