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Ban Bian Lian (Chinese Lobelia, Lobelia)

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Neutral Ban Bian Lian (Herba Lobeliae Chinensis Gum Radice)
Sweet, Neutral
Herba Lobeliae Chinensis Gum Radice
Tone Marks:
bàn biàn lián
Alt Names:
Half Edged Lily


  • Reduce Edema, Promote Urination, Regulate Waterways
    For edema, ascites, ascites due to schistosomiasis or end stage liver cirrhosis.
  • Treat Snakebite, Clears Heat and Toxin, Cools Blood
    For poisonous snakebite, along with the stings of wasps, bees, scorpions and centipedes. Also for ulcers, lesions, swellings, sores, eczema, shingles, fungal infections, and tonsillitis due to heat and toxin.

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Do not use for edema due to deficiency.

Herb-Drug Interactions

  • Ban Bian Lian has a diuretic effect and should be taken with care with other diuretic drugs including Lasix, Bumex, and Demadex.

Toxicity and Overdose

  • This herb is toxic if taken in excess amounts. It contains a powerful alkaloid called Lobeline
  • Overdose symptoms include nausea, headache, diarrhea, salivation, hypertension, mania, muscle contraction, retarded and then accelerated pulse, spasms, dilated pupils, respiratory paralysis, and death in severe cases


  • 10-20 grams dried, 30-60 grams in decoction 12
  • 3-15 grams in decoction 13


  • It is mostly mentioned as an internal and external treatment for snakebite and insect sting in older texts.
  • Both Ban Bian Lian and Bai Hua She She Cao treat snakebite and toxins equally well, reduce edema, and clear heat. Ban Bian Lian promotes urination better while Bai Hua She She Cao is better for painful dribbling associated with damp-heat.

Clinical Studies and Research

  • There are 448 entries in Pubmed for Lobeline, an akyloid found in Ban Bian Lian.
  • Interaction of lobeline and nicotinic receptor ligands with the discriminative stimulus properties of cocaine and amphetamine.
    Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Feb 22;
  • How does lobeline injected intravenously produce a cough?
    Respir Physiol Neurobiol 2005 Jan 15;145(1):79-90.
  • Reverses respiratory depression due to morphine in dogs, or due to snake venom.
    Zhong Yao Yao Li Yu Ying Yong, 1983;389.
  • 83% of 120 patients with schistosomal ascites showed improvement after taking 30 days of Ban Bian Lian (30 grams), Dan Shen (9 grams), Dang Gui (6 grams), Fu Ling (12 grams), Bing Lang (6 grams).
    Zhong Hua Wai Ke Za Zhi, 1959; 5:406.
  • 14 snakebite cases all recovered completely following ingestion and topical application of Ban Bian Lian.
    Zhong Hua Wai Ke Zu Zhi, 1960; 4:369.
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