Finding Lobelia Inflata: Can You Get Covid-19 Through the Post?

Boris called lockdown on Monday. We moaned we had no notice to get the last things we needed, but this wasn't quite true - we had known for a long time it was coming. Truth be told, it was hard to get anything anyway, what with the nervousness about catching the virus and the panic buying going on. My sister in law wouldn't take us to Tesco or any of the big supermarkets, for reasons I probably don't need to explain, and we were left squirelling in the smaller supermarkets and farm shops. I had no shampoo and conditioner (if you've seen the video by the Italian politicians gesticulating that no one can see us with our hair-dos, you might be smirking by now - but I LIKE clean hair, thanks very much, even if I can't get a fancy cut and colour) and we were missing quite a few things to do up the van, from seat covers to USB chargers and insulation for the van. I also wanted herbs, because I'd been researching what might be good in case any of us get sick.


The post in the the UK is fabulous compared to Australia. Of course, we are closer to everything here, so it's a lot cheaper, and it's a smaller country, so things are bound to get here faster. Since the lockdown, there's less cars on the road, and I imagine they're putting a lot more delivery drivers on - so the post arrives super quickly. I can't get online groceries, but I get my natural shampoo and conditioner within 24 hours and we get all the car parts we need for the van. As soon as it arrives, one of us opens it, puts the wrappers in the bin, and washes our hands, just in case.

You might know more than me, but I think we have bigger things to worry about than what ifs. As far as I've read, the likelihood of getting coronavirus from a delivery is pretty rare. It all disappears in transit via heat and time, so chances are, your packages are okay. Yet, we can still be cautious, without being fearful. Most of the delivery drivers wear gloves, but they can still sneeze or cough so it settles on the packaging. Wiping it down with a disinfectant is not paranoid, but sensible. Alternatively, you could leave it out in this great British sunshine for a few hours! Whatever you do, wash your bloody hands. I think we're far more safe to get deliveries in than risk going out.

So, the upshot of this is that I got my delivery of lobelia from Greece today. It makes me feel a little more secure, knowing I have some herbs to help me if I get sick, because we need to be as self reliant as possible should shit really hit the fan.


For years, I've been swearing by lobelia, a plant also known as Indian tobacco. I will never forget the year my 7 year old son (at the time - he is now 23) had a cough pretty much all year. My ex was a homeopath, and had treated him with everything he could think of. In the end, someone recommended lobelia - his cough disappeared within two days. I also recommended it to my mum who was recovering from pneumonia, and after months of coughing and a tight chest and even hospitalisation, she was willing to try anything. It worked - again, within 48 hours.


I was reading about a Western doctor who had self studied TCM and was treating patients in China with ephedra and a range of other herbs with a huge amount of success. Ephedra is illegal to buy in the west, and it's kinda like speed - if you've ever had pseudoephedrine in a cold and flu tablet and been a bit hyped, you'll know what I mean. Lobelia, however, has a similiar action. Check out this resource that @alchemage sent me, describing other herbs with similiar actions to ephedra - lobelia appears in each section for asthma, cough and bronchitis. This reassures me, since COVID-19 affects the lungs, and I'm asthmatic:

Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), also called Indian tobacco, has a long history of use as an herbal remedy for respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and cough. Historically, Native Americans smoked lobelia as a treatment for asthma. In the 19th century, American physicians prescribed lobelia to induce vomiting in order remove toxins from the body. Because of this, it earned the name "puke weed." Today, lobelia is sometimes suggested to help clear mucus from the respiratory tract, including the throat, lungs, and bronchial tubes. Although few studies have evaluated the safety and effectiveness of lobelia, some herbalists today use lobelia as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for asthma. - Source

Now, this is one of those herbs that I absolutely HAVE to say is a little bit dangerous. I'm going to do some more research before I even think about taking it in dried form (I was fine with the tablets, but I couldn't get them online for love nor money - I presume everyone has the same idea as me) and will start with an extra small dose, should I get sick. It's much harder to control with the dried herb in a tea, I imagine, than a carefully prepared tincture. Like anything, you should absoluteley research any herbal medicine before taking it, and consult with a professional if you can.

Lobelia is considered a potentially toxic herb. It can cause serious side effects, such as profuse sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, rapid heartbeat, mental confusion, convulsions, hypothermia, coma, and possibly even death. Check with your provider to determine the right dose for you, and do not exceed your provider's recommended dose. People with high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, tobacco sensitivity, paralysis, seizure disorder, and shortness of breath, and those recovering from shock should not take lobelia. Lobelia can irritate the GI tract. Lobelia may make symptoms worse for people with ulcers, Chron disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or intestinal infections. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid this herb. Source

I'd certainly love to hear from anyone with experience or knowledge about this herb.

I also found a fabulous paper with lots of links to other good herbs that can assist us with immunity and so on for coronvirus. Ginger is a great one - I am trying to find more. You can read these resources here.

What herbs have you got in your medical first aid kit?

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I don't have any herbs. Such a delicate system :) But I love your advice about wiping everything down and washing hands. This is a pathogen. It can't get in the house unless we let it in. So keep those barriers up. A little inconvenience doesn't matter.
Stay well!

You too. Where are you located?

New York, Nassau County.

Never heard of that particular herb, although you have just reminded me I forgot to buy ginger earlier.

I imagine a good hand washing after unboxing and you should be fine.

Totes. I need more ginger too! YOu can also tincture it - in vodka or in ACV. I'm going the ACV as I need to drink the vodka to survive.

I haven't heard of lobelia before, I know quite a few people around here that have lung problems, i will be letting them know for sure. Welcome to the lockdown, once you get use to it, it is just another day, just surround yourself with positivity which is easy to do when you can get out in nature xxx

Just another day ... yeah all day yesterday I felt happy out in nature and really chilled. Xx

I enjoy reading these posts and to see what the Chinese names are and whether I've heard of them before.

Oh how are you going??? Keeping safe?

All good thanks!! 🙂

What an adventure! As far as herbs and immune boosting, i've got astragalus and mushrooms, nettle, dandelion root. At top of mind. But, for hard core preventative i swear by bentonite. Flu, sore throat, unsettled tummy. This stuff is a must have in my kit.

Much love to you from across th3 globe as we both tredge through our current reality ❤🙏🎶

And to you as well!! I made a strong nettle and cleavers infusion yesterday. Such a good spring tonic!!

I have heard of bentonite clay for detox and stomach issues. I use it for face masks. I must research it a little more!! Thanks for letting me know and for stopping by with your cheeriness. X

Oh my Buddha - my mother had lobelia growing in the garden in Australia! Who knew??

In Thailand, the Thailand Post offices ARE disinfecting ALL incoming packages from overseas, and the guy doing it wears a hazmat suit. You are not being obsessive at all. Recent research from the ill-fated Ruby Princess (destined perhaps to fine notoriety alongside the Titanic?) shows the covid virus can survive on some surfaces for as long as 17 days.

I have a friend in Greece who is a herbalist and makes amazing natural medicines. His name is Yiannis. He DOES do mail orders, makes tinctures and also distils his own essential oils. I will dig out his online details and post them below this comment.

His name is Yiannis Psillos and he uses that name on facebook - his profile pic is a white Buddha. His business page on facebook is Salvia Cretan Distillery & Herbs. He speaks great English and his ex-wife, Kate, is a dear friend of mine. Yianni lost his 2nd wife to cancer just weeks ago and is trying to care for his 5 year old son alone - if you need or want to buy something from Yianni and he doesn't respond, DM me via discord and I will ask Kate to call him by phone. Like so many extraordinary alchemists, herbalists and healers, the online world is not his forte.

His herbs, oils and tinctures are among the best I have ever used.

You know, the whole time ordering this herb from Greece I was thinking about your friend Yiannis!!!! Next herb I need here, or oil, I will contact him for sure. So sad about his wife!

There's a lot of different lobelia - Indian tobacco a bit different from that garden variety. I have actually never had a herb work so powerfully to target a specific, pointed issue!!

Can't be too careful with anything these days... whilst we need some herd immunity, I can't be part of that herd. Saying that.. maybe my immune system would just fight it off and I'd only get the mild version! Who knows. Uncertain times!

  ·  6 days ago (edited)

Damn, you order it from Greece and and I haven't even heard it! Shame on me :)
I stopped reading your post halfway to check my herb book and you are right it is very useful to asthma and bronchitis. The book doesn't say how to use it but it does say with bold capital letters FOR LIMITTED USE
I am sorry I couldn't help more, I hope though that you don't get sick and you'll never need it!

Me too! Yes, it's excellent stuff, you jsut have to be cautious with it!!!! But if my lungs are screwed, I will need it! I will make sure I have a mild dose first.

I am so upset I can't drive to Greece! We were meant to be coming mid April!

I am sure your new van is upset, too!
You promised to it Europe and now it just sits on the driveway :)

I also recommended it to my mum who was recovering from pneumonia, and after months of coughing and a tight chest and even hospitalization, she was willing to try anything. It worked - again, within 48 hours.

Wow, that was fast. Herbs are way underrated in terms of efficiency, they can be even more powerful faster to act than allopathic treatments.

On a side note: here in Chile it's easy to find Lobelia Tupa which was also used medicinally by the natives here to treat breathing problems. It's also known as Devil's Tobbaco though for it's pyschoactive properties but I've never met anyone who knows how to prepare it. Just called my attention the similarities of the description, though morphology is different.