Uses & Side Effects of Forskolin and its Dosages

Forskolin is made from the roots of a plant from the Mint family and is known to be used in traditional Asian medicine. The plant is grown most in India, Uganda, and Thailand. Since ages, it is known that forskolin is beneficial in curing several problems of lung, heart and urinary health. However there is also several side effects or risk factors of forskolin. Read below to know about the uses, side effects and dosages of Forskolin.

Uses & Side Effects of Forskolin and its Dosages

Uses of Forskolin:

  1. Forskolin is Used as a Nootropic Drug to Improve Memory and Brain Power:

    Forskolin is used as a nootropic drug in something called Chemically Induced Long-Term Potentiation Stack (CILTEP Stack). This is a potential supplement stack which makes use of Forskolin as a cAMP booster along with Artichoke Extract as a PDE-4 inhibitor. Artichoke Extract prevents the excessive cAMP breakdown and thus allows the user to increase normal levels of cAMP in his or her brain. This results in an enhanced memory performance, especially in terms of new information retention.

    There are many people who say that by using Forskolin they get significant benefits in better memory functions for studying and various other mentally demanding tasks. Taking Forskolin may help in learning capacity, accessing stored memory, reasoning processes and may also improve mental fluidity.

  2. Use of Forskolin for Weight Loss:

    There have been several studies which have found that Forskolin is beneficial in weight loss and in treating obesity. In one study it was observed that 30 obese or overweight men using Forskolin achieved a greater reduction in body fat and greater increase in lean body mass that those in the placebo group. It was also found that the group taking Forskolin also experienced a significant increase in bone mass.

  3. Uses of Forskolin in Treating Asthma attacks:

    Use of Forskolin is also beneficial in treating asthma attacks. In a study conducted in 2006, it was reported that forskolin was found in treating and fending off asthma attacks. The study found that persons taking this supplement had much less asthma attacks and in much less frequent way than those who did not take Forskolin. It was also noted that during the asthma attacks which did occur, the severity was less significant and with easier breathing in patients taking Forskolin supplements.

    Forskolin works in a way similar to specific types of conventional asthma drugs; by enhancing the levels of a compound called cyclic AMP or cAMP. This aids in relaxing the muscles around the bronchial tubes to make breathing easier in the patients.

  4. Uses of Forskolin in Treating Glaucoma:

    Though there is very little scientific evidence; Forskolin has been used to try and treat glaucoma. There are some people who feel this supplement is beneficial in treating glaucoma. There has been a small study which shows that forskolin may aid relieve pressure in the eyes, which is mostly seen in glaucoma. However, this test has not been done on glaucoma patients, but on healthy people.

  5. Cardiovascular Diseases:

    One more potential use of Forskolin is in the treatment of some forms of cardiovascular diseases. There have been a few studies that show Forskolin can aid in improving heart function. The supplement is beneficial for people with idiopathic congestive cardiomyopathy, which may cause heart failure.

  6. Traditional/Ethnobotanical Uses of Forskolin:

    Traditional medical uses of Forskolin include the treatment of skin problems like burns, insect bites, wounds, allergies, infections like syphilis, ringworm etc, digestive disorders like gastric, stomachache, intestinal spasm, nausea etc, several other conditions like rheumatism, neck stiffness, and also beneficial for inducing menstruation and as an oral contraceptive. It is also known that Forskolin is used to treat heart, blood, and circulation conditions.

Side Effects of Forskolin:

There are several health benefits of forskolin, however there are also some side effects which cannot be ignored. Usually the side effects are mild, still they must be paid attention. Below are some of the side effects of Forskolin.

  1. Forskolin Causes Low Blood Pressure:

    As per Memorial Sloa-Kettering Cancer Center, treatment with Forskolin may lower your blood pressure. This is a potentially dangerous side effect of the supplement which is known as hypotension and may induce dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, pale skin, fatigue, diminished concentration and loss of consciousness. Extremely low blood pressure may prevent your vital organs from getting the oxygen they require to function normally. Severe hypotension may cause permanent heart and brain damage. You need to seek care from your healthcare profession if you experience symptoms of hypotension so as to receive appropriate care.

  2. Forskolin Causes Elevated Heart Rate:

    Taking Forskolin may cause one more side effect and that is it may elevate your normal heart rate, which is a side effect known as tachycardia. When your heart rate significantly increases, you may experience symptoms like lightheadedness, chest pain, heart palpitation, shortness of breath, rapid pulse and loss of consciousness. There may be some dangerous complications of tachycardia such as heart failure, frequent fainting, blood clots or sudden death. It is essential for you to consult your doctor in case you experience heart related side effects after taking forskolin.

  3. Increased Stomach Acid Levels:

    Yet another side effect of Forskolin is that of increasing the amount of acid in your stomach. This may cause symptoms like heartburn, nausea, indigestion etc. such symptoms are especially dangerous for people with pre-existing gastrointestinal health problems like stomach ulcer. So, it is advised not to take forskolin supplement if you have stomach ulcer.

  4. Side Effects of Drug Interaction:

    Consult your doctor about all medication you are taking before taking forskolin. There may be risk of drug interaction in several cases. Concomitant use of forskolin and prescription blood thinners may increase the risk of developing bleeding complication. Moreover, it is to be noted to avoid taking forskolin in conjunction with antihypertensives. The combination of Forskolin and anti-hypertensives may cause a significant decrease in your blood pressure.

Dosage for Forskolin:

The dosages of many Forskolin supplements can considerable vary. Usually you want to consider only those of higher quality which means that they should contain 10% to 20% Forskolin extract.

The typical dosage range is between 25 to 60 mg per day. This is normally divided between 2-3 equal administrations.

Many users find taking 50 mg-60 mg is ideal range for serious nootropic effects. For asthma, oral forskolin has been studied to be effective by using 10 mg per day over 2-6 months.

For, obesity, about 250 mg of a 10% Forskolin extract can be taken two times a day for 12 weeks for treating obesity.

For best results, you need to combine Forskolin with 500 to 900 mg of artichoke extract each day. It is also recommended to take Forskolin dosage at night, as it does make some people tired.


Though there are some real great health benefits of Forskolin, there are also side effects which we talked earlier. It must be noted that you must keep a note that if you have polycystic kidney disease, you should avoid Forskolin. Pregnant women and breastfeeding women should avoid taking Forskolin, as the safety is not known.

It is essential to talk to your healthcare professional for knowing the exact dosage of Forskolin.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 7, 2017

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