Economic Botany

, 41:474 | Cite as

Coleus barbatus (C.forskohlii)(Lamiaceae) and the potential new drug forskolin (Coleonol)

  • L. J. ValdÉs
  • S. G. Mislankar
  • A. G. Paul


Coleus barbatus (C. forskohlii) is used medicinally in Africa, Arabia, and Brazil. The root tubers of the plant are prepared and eaten as a condiment in India. Other Indian Coleus spp. are used in traditional Ayurvedic healing. Chemical studies of alcoholic extracts of the tubers of C. barbatus led to isolation of the labdane diterpene forskolin (coleonol), which has become an important research tool in studying the roles of the enzyme adenylate cyclase and cyclic-AMP in cellular physiology. The compound may eventually become a useful drug in treating hypertension, glaucoma, asthma, and certain cancers. This article summarizes the investigations ofC. barbatus.


Adenylate Cyclase Economic Botany Forskolin Diterpene Root Tuber 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Literature Cited

  1. Agarwal, K. C., and R. E. Parks, Jr. 1982. Synergistic inhibition of platelet aggregation by forskolin plus PGE1 or 2-fluoroadenosine: effects of 2′,5′-dideoxyadenosine and 5-methylthioadenosine. Biochem. Pharmacol. 31:3713–3716.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. —, Jr.. 1983. Forskolin: a potential antimetastatic agent. Int. J. Cancer 32:801–804.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anonymous. 1950. Coleus. Pages 308-309in The wealth of India, vol. II. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Delhi.Google Scholar
  4. Badhwar, S. R. L., and R. R. Fernandez. 1964. Edible wild plants of the Himalayas. The Forest Research Institute and Colleges, Dehra Dun, India.Google Scholar
  5. Baraldi, P. G., A. Barco, S. Benetti, G. P. Pollini, E. Polo, and D. Simoni. 1986. The intramolecular nitrile oxide route to forskolin. J. Chem. Soc, Chem. Commun. 1986:757–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bentham, G. 1832–1836. VIII.Coleus. Pages 47–59, 711in Labiatarum genera et species. Ridgway and Sons, London.Google Scholar
  7. Bhakuni, D. S., M. L. Dhar, M. M. Dhar, B. N. Dhawan, B. Gupta, and R. C. Srimal. 1971. Screening of Indian plants for biological activity: part III. Indian J. Exp. Biol. 9:91–102.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bhat, S. V., B. S. Bajwa, H. Dornauer, and N. J. de Souza. 1977. Structures and stereochemistry of new labdane diterpenoids fromColeus forskohlii Briq. Tetrahedron Lett. 1977:1669–1672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. —, A. N. Dohadwalla, B. S. Bajwa, N. K. Dadkar, H. Dornauer, and N. J. de Souza. 1983. The antihypertensive and positive inotropic diterpene forskolin: effects of structural modifications on its activity. J. Med. Chem. 26:486–492.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Briquet, J. 1897. Labiatae (Coleus). Pages 359-363in A. Engler and K. Prantl, ed., Die Natiirlichen Pflanzenfamilien IV. 3a.Google Scholar
  11. Bristow, M. R., R. Ginsburg, A. Strosberg, W. Montgomery, and W. Minobe. 1984. Pharmacology and inotropic potential of forskolin in the human heart. J. Clin. Invest. 74:212–223.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bruka, J. F. 1983. Effects of selected bronchodilators on antigen- and A23187-induced contraction of guinea-pig trachea. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Therap. 225:427–435.Google Scholar
  13. Burstein, N. R., M. L. Sears, and A. Mead. 1984. Aqueous flow in human eyes is reduced by forskolin, a potent adenylate cyclase activator. Exp. Eye Res. 39:745–749.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Caprioli, J., and M. Sears. 1983. Forskolin lowers intraocular pressure in rabbits, monkeys and man. The Lancet 30 April:958–960.Google Scholar
  15. Cook, T. 1903. XCVIII. Labiatae. Pages 448–449in The flora of the Presidency of Bombay, vol. II. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta.Google Scholar
  16. Cramer, L. H. 1978. A revision ofColeus (Labiatae) in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Kew Bull. 32:551–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. —. 1981.Coleus barbatus. Pages 141–143in M. D. Dassanayake, ed., A revised handbook to the flora of Ceylon, vol. III. Amerind Pub. Co., New Delhi.Google Scholar
  18. Croom, E. M., Jr. 1983. Documenting and evaluating herbal remedies. Econ. Bot. 37:13–27.Google Scholar
  19. de Souza, N. J., A. N. Dohadwalla, and J. Reden. 1983. Forskolin: a labdane diterpenoid with antihypertensive, positive inotropic, platelet aggregation inhibitory, and adenylate cyclase activating properties. Med. Res. Rev. 3:201–219.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dragendorff, G. 1898. Pages 585–586in Die Heilpflanzen der verscheidenen Volker und Zeiten. Ferdinand Enke, Stuttgart.Google Scholar
  21. Dubey, M. P., R. C. Srimal, S. Nityanand, and B. N. Dhawan. 1981. Pharmacological studies on coleonol, a hypotensive diterpene fromColeus forskohlii. J. Ethnopharmacol.3:1–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harada, N., and K. Nakanishi. 1983. Circular dichroic spectroscopy-exciton chirality in organic stereochemistry. University Science Books, Mill Valley, CA.Google Scholar
  23. Hooker, J. D. 1885. CXII. Labiatae. Pages 624–627in The flora of British India, vol. 4. Reeve & Co., London.Google Scholar
  24. Jenkins, P. R., K. A. Menear, P. Barraclough, and M. S. Nobbs. 1984. An intramolecular Diels-Alder approach to forskolin. J. Chem. Soc, Chem. Commun. 1984:1423–1424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kelecom, A. 1983. Isolation, structure determination, and absolute configuration of barbatusol, a new bioactive diterpene with a rearranged abietane skeleton from the labiate Coleus barbatus. Tetrahedron 39:3603–3608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. —. 1984. An abietane diterpene from the labiateColeus barbatus. Phytochemistry 23:1677–1679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kreig, M. B. 1964. 13. Rauwolfia, the Park Avenue snakeroot. Pages 317–339in Green medicine. Rand McNally & Co., New York.Google Scholar
  28. Lichey, J., T. Friedrich, M. Priesnitz, G. Biamino, P. Usinger, and H. Huckauf. 1984. Effect of forskolin on methacholine-induced bronchoconstriction in extrinsic asthmatics. The Lancet 21 July: 167.Google Scholar
  29. Nadkarni, K. M. 1955. Indian materia medica, 3rd ed. 2 vol., rev. by A. K. Nadkarni. Popular Book Depot, Bombay, India.Google Scholar
  30. Nicolau, K. C, and W. S. Li. 1985. An intramolecular Diels-Alder strategy to forskolin. J. Chem. Soc, Chem. Commun. 1985:421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Paulus, E. F. 1979. Molecular and crystal structure of forskolin. Z. Kristallogr. 152:239–245.Google Scholar
  32. Ruedi, P., and C. H. Eugster. 1972. Struktur von Coleon E, einem neuen diterpenoiden Methylenchinon aus derColeus-barbatus-gruppe (Labiatae). Helv. Chim. Acta 55:1994–2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. —. 1973. Struktur von Coleon F. Helv. Chim. Acta 56:1129–1132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Saksena, A. K., M. J. Green, H.-J. Shue, J. K. Wong, and A. T. McPhail. 1985. Identity of coleonol with forskolin: Structure revision of a base-catalysed rearrangement product. Tetrahedron Lett. 26:551–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Seamon, K. B. 1984. Forskolin and adenylate cyclase: new opportunities in drug design. Pages 293–302in D. M. Bailey, ed., Annual reports in medicinal chemistry, vol. 19. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  36. —, and J. W. Daly. 1981. Forskolin: a unique diterpene activator of cyclic AMP-generating systems. J. Cyclic Nucleotide Res. 7:201–224.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. — 1983. Forskolin, cyclic AMP and cellular physiology. TIPS (Trends in Pharmacol. Sci.) 4:120–123.Google Scholar
  38. —, H. Metzger, N. J. de Souza, and J. Reden. 1983. Structure-activity relationships for activation of adenylate cyclase by the diterpene forskolin and its derivatives. J. Med. Chem. 26:436–439.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shah, V., S. V. Bhat, B. S. Bajwa, H. Domauer, and N. J. de Souza. 1980. The occurrence of forskolin in the Labiatae. Pl. Med. 42:183–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sims, J. 1819.Plectranthus forskohlaei. Bot. Mag. 46:t. 2036.Google Scholar
  41. —. 1822.Plectranthus comosus. Bot. Mag. 49:t. 2318.Google Scholar
  42. Tandon, J. S., M. M. Dhar, S. Ramakumar, and K. Venkatesan. 1977. Structure of coleonol, a biologically active diterpene fromColeus forskohlii. Indian J. Chem. 15B:880–883.Google Scholar
  43. —, S. B. Katti, P. Ruedi, and C. H. Eugster. 1979. Crocetin-dialdehyde fromColeus forskohlii Briq., Labiatae. Helv. Chim. Acta 62:2706–2707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Trease, G. E., and W. C. Evans. 1983. Pharmacognosy, 12th ed. Bailliere Tindall, London.Google Scholar
  45. Tyler, V. E., L. R. Brady, and J. E. Robbers. 1981. Pharmacognosy, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  46. Voigt, J. O. 1845. Pages 449–450in Hortus suburbanus Calcuttensis (a Catalogue of the Plants at the East India Company and Seramapore Botanical Gardens, 1786–1841). Bishop’s College Press, Calcutta.Google Scholar
  47. Wang, A. H.-J., I. C. Paul, R. Zelnik, D. Lavie, and E. C. Levy. 1974. Structure and stereochemistry of cyclobutatusin, a diterpenoid containing a four-membered ring. J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 96:580–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Willemse, R. H. 1985. Notes on EastAfrican Plectranthus species (Labiatae). Kew Bull. 40:93–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zelnik, R., D. Lavie, E. C. Levy, A. H.-J. Wang, and I. C. Paul. 1977. Barbatusin and cyclobutatusin, two novel diterpenoids fromColeus barbatus Bentham. Tetrahedron 33:1457–1467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ziegler, F. E., B. H. Jaynes, and M. Saindane. 1985. A C6C7 oxygen functionalized intermediate for the synthesis of forskolin: stereochemical control in an intermolecular Diels-Alder reaction. Tetrahedron Lett. 26:3307–3310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. J. ValdÉs
    • 1
  • S. G. Mislankar
    • 2
  • A. G. Paul
    • 2
  1. 1.College of PharmacyThe University of MichiganMI
  2. 2.Medical SchoolThe University of MichiganMI

Personalised recommendations