Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Coleus Forskohlii, a species of coloured nettle from India, is known for its ingredient forskolin. In China, India, Brazil and large parts of Africa, the active ingredient has been used in folk medicine for centuries. In this country, forskolin is used to treat asthma, heart disease and thrombosis. In addition, forskolin extracts are said to help with weight loss.

In our big Coleus Forskohlii test 2021 we explain what the effects of forskolin are, what you should look out for when taking forskolin and which Coleus Forskohlii product is best for you. We compare different types of Coleus Forskohlii products and recommend the best Coleus Forskohlii products.




The most important facts

  • Coleus Forskohlii, is known for its ingredient forskolin, which is used to treat asthma, heart disease, thrombosis and for other ailments. In addition, it can support weight loss as a dietary supplement.
  • Coleus Forskohlii is mainly sold as a forskolin extract in capsule form, in which forskolin is contained as a powder together with other ingredients.
  • Coleus Forskohlii helps against many ailments such as heart disease, respiratory problems or bladder infections and also has no significant side effects. However, as it has a blood pressure-lowering effect, caution is still advised when taking it.

The Best Coleus Forskohlii: Our Picks

We have selected the best Coleus Forskohlii products for you based on their features and present them to you below.

Buying and evaluation criteria for Coleus Forskohlii products

Before buying Coleus Forskohlii products, you should consider a few points. Therefore, we have prepared this buying guide to make it as easy as possible for you to choose the right product.

These are the criteria you should consider before buying Coleus Forskohlii products:

In the following, we will explain the criteria in more detail. We will go into each aspect in detail so that you are sufficiently informed about everything that is important.

Dosage form

The normal dosage form of Coleus Forskohlii is capsules containing the extract of the coloured nettle. The forskohlii extract is enclosed as a powder in the capsules, which are then swallowed with sufficient water.

The pure forskolin content per capsule always depends on the product and the dosage.

In most cases, all substances used are of purely vegetable origin and the capsules are therefore entirely of natural origin, i.e. biologically and organically flawless.

You can find out more about the ingredients of forskolin capsules under "Additives and other ingredients".

Dosage

Most of the forskolin capsules on offer differ in their dosage of forskolin.

Use products with a high dosage for better effects.

The dosage varies between standardised 10 and 20 percent forskolin, measured by the amount of Coleus Forskohlii extract used.

One capsule usually corresponds to the daily requirement of forskolin; at low dosages, two capsules a day are also needed to meet the recommended intake.

The recommended daily intake is stated on the pack and should not be exceeded if you want to avoid side effects.

Package size

The quantity of Coleus Forskohlii products is determined by the number of capsules.

The most common number is 60 capsules per tin or sachet. 60 capsules are enough for half a month or a whole month, depending on the dosage.

Rarely, there are cans with 90 capsules. In the bodybuilding sector, however, cans with far more capsules are also offered.

Additives and other ingredients

Other substances are often added to the forskolin in the capsules and you should take a look at them. The capsule shell in particular usually consists of other ingredients.

Additional ingredients in Coleus Forskohlii capsules can be:

Additional ingredient Exact description
Separating agent e.g. calcium hydrogen phosphate, gastric salts or plant fibres
Coating agent in the capsule shell e.g. hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (HPMC)
Filler in the capsule e.g. microcrystalline cellulose

If you have allergies or are vegan, it is worth taking a look at the product description or the ingredients to be on the safe side. However, most Coleus Forskohlii capsules are free from lactose, gluten, gelatine or yeast.

Naturalness

As already mentioned, the capsules with Coleus Forskohlii extract are normally 100 percent natural in origin, as the ingredients are purely of plant origin. This is not the only reason why the forskolin capsules are considered to be mostly harmless to health.

Many manufacturers even advertise with a vegan label or a note that entirely animal-free raw materials were used in the production. As always, it is worth taking a look at the product description.

Laboratory testing

It is important that the capsules made from forskohlii extract have undergone sufficient controls during the manufacturing process. The ingredients should also be checked.

Safe capsules are free of heavy metal or microbial contamination.

Laboratory testing should be indicated on the package. You can recognise safe products by the internationally recognised quality standards HACCP or GMP or compliance with an ISO standard.

If the Coleus Forskohlii capsules meet these criteria, you should have no problems taking them. However, if you are pregnant or currently breastfeeding, it is not recommended.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before using products with Coleus Forskohlii

In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of Coleus Forskohlii and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.

What is Coleus Forskohlii and how does it work?

Coleus Forskohlii is a coloured nettle that grows in India, Sri Lanka, Brazil and the tropical areas of Africa. The coloured nettle belongs to the labiates and grows to a height of about 50 cm.

The leaves and roots of Coleus Forskohlii contain the active ingredient forskolin, also known as colforsin or coleonol.

The chemical compound has different effects on the human body as it acts as a stimulator of the enzyme adenylyl cyclase.

When the enzyme is activated, adenosine triphospate (ATP) is unconverted into cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). If the amount of cAMP increases, this has positive effects on the heart and blood pressure. Forskolin also inhibits blood clotting, breaks down fats and has an antispasmodic effect.

The herb Coleus Forskohlii has been valued in Ayuverda medicine for centuries. (Image source: Nareeta Martin / unsplash)

Forskolin is being scientifically studied for the treatment of asthma, heart disease and thrombosis because of the effects mentioned (1, 2).

Coleus forskohlii extracts are also said to help with weight loss, although the effectiveness is still partly disputed. However, this property is advertised in the bodybuilding sector.

The herb is also said to have other properties. Below you will find a short overview of the effects of Coleus Forskohlii (1, 2):

  • dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure
  • inhibits blood clotting
  • has an antispasmodic effect
  • burns fat
  • has an antibacterial effect
  • has an immune-activating effect

Many of these properties are used in Ayurvedic medicine and in the folk medicine of the regions where the plant grows. Coleus Forskohlii has been valued in these areas for thousands of years for its healing properties (1).

When and for whom is it useful to take Coleus Forskohlii?

The intake of Coleus Forskohlii products can be useful for different complaints due to the effects mentioned. You can find out exactly which ones and why in the following sections.

For heart and circulatory problems and nervous disorders

Forskolin is considered a blood pressure reducer because it dilates the blood vessels, making it easier for the blood to flow through.

Forskolin is considered a blood pressure reducer.

By promoting blood circulation, the active ingredient can help prevent heart diseases such as heart attacks or strokes, but also generally help with high blood pressure (3, 4, 5).

In addition, forskolin can regenerate nerve damage and thus help with nerve diseases (6).

For headaches and respiratory disorders

Due to the same effect, the active ingredient of the plant can also help with headaches caused by constricted blood vessels (7).

When the blood can flow better, more reaches the brain and the headache can improve.

The vasodilatation caused by forskolin can also help with respiratory disorders. Especially with bronchitis or asthma, forskolin can be helpful (8, 9).

For bladder infections

If you suffer from chronic cystitis, taking forskolin can be helpful (10, 11).

The active ingredient forskolin prevents the bacteria from encapsulating in the mucous membrane of the bladder, which improves the effect of antibiotics.

Since the bacteria can no longer protect themselves from this, forskolin has an anti-inflammatory effect in this way.

When losing weight

Forskolin is being studied for the treatment of obesity. The fat-burning properties of the active ingredient can help overweight and obese people lose weight, as body fat is targeted by the active ingredient, but not bone and muscle mass (12, 13, 14).

What are the side effects of Coleus Forskohlii?

Despite all these positive properties, you should be careful when taking products containing forskolin.

Although the active ingredient forskolin is not known to have any side effects that are worth mentioning or harmful to health, the effects on blood pressure and blood circulation may lead to side effects that are not good for your health.

Forskolin may have a negative effect on your blood pressure. (Image source: Marco Leal / unsplash)

You should not take products made from coleus forskohlii under the following circumstances:

  • in case of low blood pressure, as forskolin can also have a blood pressure-lowering effect.
  • when taking medication for high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers, calcium antagonists or hydralazine, as forskolin can interact with the medication.
  • if you have blood clotting disorders and are taking blood thinners or anticoagulants.
  • at least two weeks before an operation, due to the effect of forskolin on blood pressure.

As you can see, the negative side effects are basically due to the effect of forskolin on blood pressure. Therefore, consult your doctor before taking Coleus Forskohlii products if you are affected.

Can I take Coleus Forskohlii during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

If you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding, it is not advisable to take Coleus Forskohlii products. You should consult your doctor before taking any of these products.

How do I take Coleus Forskohlii products?

The optimal dosage of forskolin is not yet known. Instead, there is a recommended intake that should be noted on the package.

Standard dosages are 10 and 20 percent forskolin. The following recommendations are given for these dosages:

dosage recommended consumption period
10 per cent 2 capsules daily with sufficient liquid about 10 to 20 minutes before a meal
20 per cent 1 capsule daily with sufficient liquid about 10 to 20 minutes before a meal

These consumption recommendations apply to adults and must not be exceeded. Food supplements are never a substitute for a healthy diet or lifestyle.

Unfortunately, no consumption recommendations are given for children. You should therefore discuss the type of intake for your child with a doctor.

How much do products with Coleus Forskohlii cost?

The price for a tin or bag of Coleus Forskohlii capsules is between 10 and 30 euros.
A tin costs between 10 and 30 euros.

Normal prices are around 13 euros for a tin or bag. At this price you usually get 60 capsules per can and a high dosage.

More capsules per can or bag cost a few euros more. Capsules with a low dosage of forskolin, on the other hand, usually cost a little less, depending on the quantity and manufacturer.

What types of Coleus Forskohlii products are there?

The normal form of Coleus Forskohlii is capsules containing the extract of the coloured nettle. These are packaged either in tins or in sachets.

These packages vary in size and can contain different numbers of capsules. The standard is 60 capsules, but it is rare to find tins containing 90 capsules or 120 capsules.

What are the alternatives to Coleus Forskohlii?

Various alternatives to forskolin are used precisely as blood thinners and to inhibit blood clotting, for example antiplatelet drugs to be swallowed or heparins to be injected under the skin. However, the use of these medicines should first be discussed with the doctor.

It is also suspected that nattokinase may have similar properties to Colues forskohlii extract and is being scientifically investigated in this regard. At present, however, there is still a lack of sufficient and well-founded evidence to confirm the effect of nattokinase.

Image source: Warat42/ 123rf

References (14)

1. Alasbahi RH, Melzig MF. Plectranthus barbatus: a review of phytochemistry, ethnobotanical uses and pharmacology - Part 1. Planta Med. 2010;76(7):653-661. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1240898
Source

2. Mitra M, Gantait S, Mandal N. Coleus forskohlii: advancements and prospects of in vitro biotechnology. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020;104(6):2359-2371. doi:10.1007/s00253-020-10377-6
Source

3. Schlepper M, Thormann J, Mitrovic V. Cardiovascular effects of forskolin and phosphodiesterase-III inhibitors. Basic Res Cardiol. 1989;84 Suppl 1:197-212. doi:10.1007/BF02650360
Source

4. McKinney W, Newman WH, Webb JG, Castresana MR. Bacterial lipopolysaccharide-stimulated release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha from the isolated rat heart: the effect of aprotinin and forskolin. Am Surg. 2003;69(2):131-135. doi:10.1097/00007611-200311001-00238
Source

5. Hearse DJ, Zucchi R, Buschmans E, Manning AS. Forskolin and myocardial function in the normal, ischemic and reperfused rat heart. Can J Cardiol. 1986;2(5):303-312.
Source

6. Sulaiman W, Dreesen T, Nguyen D. Single Local Application of TGF-β Promotes a Proregenerative State Throughout a Chronically Injured Nerve. Neurosurgery. 2018;82(6):894-902. doi:10.1093/neuros/nyx362
Source

7. Galeotti N, Ghelardini C, Zoppi M, et al. Hypofunctionality of Gi proteins as aetiopathogenic mechanism for migraine and cluster headache. Cephalalgia. 2001;21(1):38-45. doi:10.1046/j.1468-2982.2001.00142.x
Source

8. González-Sánchez R, Trujillo X, Trujillo-Hernández B, Vásquez C, Huerta M, Elizalde A. Forskolin versus sodium cromoglycate for prevention of asthma attacks: a single-blinded clinical trial. J Int Med Res. 2006;34(2):200-207. doi:10.1177/147323000603400210
Source

9. Huerta M, Urzúa Z, Trujillo X, González-Sánchez R, Trujillo-Hernández B. Forskolin compared with beclomethasone for prevention of asthma attacks: a single-blind clinical trial. J Int Med Res. 2010;38(2):661-668. doi:10.1177/147323001003800229
Source

10. Genovese C, Davinelli S, Mangano K, et al. Effects of a new combination of plant extracts plus d-mannose for the management of uncomplicated recurrent urinary tract infections. J Chemother. 2018;30(2):107-114. doi:10.1080/1120009X.2017.1393587
Source

11. Wei Y, Li K, Wang N, et al. Activation of endogenous anti-inflammatory mediator cyclic AMP attenuates acute pyelonephritis in mice induced by uropathogenic Escherichia coli. Am J Pathol. 2015;185(2):472-484. doi:10.1016/j.ajpath.2014.10.007
Source

12. Godard MP, Johnson BA, Richmond SR. Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men. Obes Res. 2005;13(8):1335-1343. doi:10.1038/oby.2005.162
Source

13. Litosch I, Hudson TH, Mills I, Li SY, Fain JN. Forskolin as an activator of cyclic AMP accumulation and lipolysis in rat adipocytes. Mol Pharmacol. 1982;22(1):109-115.
Source

14. Okuda H, Morimoto C, Tsujita T. Relationship between cyclic AMP production and lipolysis induced by forskolin in rat fat cells. J Lipid Res. 1992;33(2):225-231.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Alasbahi RH, Melzig MF. Plectranthus barbatus: a review of phytochemistry, ethnobotanical uses and pharmacology - Part 1. Planta Med. 2010;76(7):653-661. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1240898
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Mitra M, Gantait S, Mandal N. Coleus forskohlii: advancements and prospects of in vitro biotechnology. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020;104(6):2359-2371. doi:10.1007/s00253-020-10377-6
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Schlepper M, Thormann J, Mitrovic V. Cardiovascular effects of forskolin and phosphodiesterase-III inhibitors. Basic Res Cardiol. 1989;84 Suppl 1:197-212. doi:10.1007/BF02650360
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
McKinney W, Newman WH, Webb JG, Castresana MR. Bacterial lipopolysaccharide-stimulated release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha from the isolated rat heart: the effect of aprotinin and forskolin. Am Surg. 2003;69(2):131-135. doi:10.1097/00007611-200311001-00238
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Hearse DJ, Zucchi R, Buschmans E, Manning AS. Forskolin and myocardial function in the normal, ischemic and reperfused rat heart. Can J Cardiol. 1986;2(5):303-312.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Sulaiman W, Dreesen T, Nguyen D. Single Local Application of TGF-β Promotes a Proregenerative State Throughout a Chronically Injured Nerve. Neurosurgery. 2018;82(6):894-902. doi:10.1093/neuros/nyx362
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Galeotti N, Ghelardini C, Zoppi M, et al. Hypofunctionality of Gi proteins as aetiopathogenic mechanism for migraine and cluster headache. Cephalalgia. 2001;21(1):38-45. doi:10.1046/j.1468-2982.2001.00142.x
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
González-Sánchez R, Trujillo X, Trujillo-Hernández B, Vásquez C, Huerta M, Elizalde A. Forskolin versus sodium cromoglycate for prevention of asthma attacks: a single-blinded clinical trial. J Int Med Res. 2006;34(2):200-207. doi:10.1177/147323000603400210
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Huerta M, Urzúa Z, Trujillo X, González-Sánchez R, Trujillo-Hernández B. Forskolin compared with beclomethasone for prevention of asthma attacks: a single-blind clinical trial. J Int Med Res. 2010;38(2):661-668. doi:10.1177/147323001003800229
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Genovese C, Davinelli S, Mangano K, et al. Effects of a new combination of plant extracts plus d-mannose for the management of uncomplicated recurrent urinary tract infections. J Chemother. 2018;30(2):107-114. doi:10.1080/1120009X.2017.1393587
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Wei Y, Li K, Wang N, et al. Activation of endogenous anti-inflammatory mediator cyclic AMP attenuates acute pyelonephritis in mice induced by uropathogenic Escherichia coli. Am J Pathol. 2015;185(2):472-484. doi:10.1016/j.ajpath.2014.10.007
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Godard MP, Johnson BA, Richmond SR. Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men. Obes Res. 2005;13(8):1335-1343. doi:10.1038/oby.2005.162
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Litosch I, Hudson TH, Mills I, Li SY, Fain JN. Forskolin as an activator of cyclic AMP accumulation and lipolysis in rat adipocytes. Mol Pharmacol. 1982;22(1):109-115.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Okuda H, Morimoto C, Tsujita T. Relationship between cyclic AMP production and lipolysis induced by forskolin in rat fat cells. J Lipid Res. 1992;33(2):225-231.
Go to source
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