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Coleus forskolhii and Forslean®: Medicinal Plant Spotlight


History and Origins of Coleus forskolhii

Coleus forskolhii has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years. This plant is native to parts of India, Nepal, Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka.[2] Forskolin was discovered as the medicinally active component of Coleus forskolhii in 1974.[1]  However, studies found that harvesting the plant from the wild yielded variable concentrations of forskolin, as growing conditions can alter its production.

Forksolin, the active component of Coleus forskolhii

ForsLean® is the trademarked active component (forskolin) of the medicinal plant Coleus forskolhii. It has been cultivated and standardized by the company, Sabinsa, since 1998.[3] Thus, Sabinsa grows Coleus forskolhii under controlled growth conditions to standardize forskolin concentrations.[4] Supplementation with forskolin is thought to support cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, metabolic, eye, skin, and mental health outcomes.*[5]

Forslean® has been shown to increase cAMP levels in the brain.  So, what is cAMP and why is it important?

Forskolin produces desired health outcomes by increasing the activity of a chemical called adenylate cyclase.*[6] It is involved in the production of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). ForsLean® is the only supplement known to increase cAMP levels in the brain.* cAMP was discovered in 1956 as an important component of many hormone and neurotransmitter pathways.[7]

Aspects of poor skin, respiratory, metabolic, and heart health are associated with decreased cAMP levels and activity.[8] Increased cAMP levels have been shown to maintain healthy blood pressure, histamine activity, and thyroid hormone production.[9] Healthy thyroid function is associated with weight maintenance. One of the most common uses of ForsLean® is to promote healthy weight, potentially by supporting the thyroid gland.*[10]  Due to its ability to support healthy blood pressure and thyroid activity, it should be used with caution in patients with hypotension or hyperthyroidism.

What does Forslean® do?

Forskolin has also been shown to support mental health.* ForsLean® is fat-soluble and can quickly enter the brain upon digestion.[12] Its mood-supporting and calming properties may be due to its effect on thyroid hormones.* Unlike many other mood-altering supplements, ForsLean® has no known adverse side effects.[13]

Forskolin has been shown to inhibit the enzyme phosphodiesterase, which is associated with improvements in mood.*[14] This inhibition may be another mechanism by which forskolin improves mental health. Mental health, along with most aspects of life, requires healthy nervous system function. ForsLean® aids in producing proteins necessary for nerve synapse health, long-term neuronal regeneration, and development of memories.*[15]

Coleus forskolhii and other ingredients in Sanesco’s SomniTR™ formulation

Sanesco uses ForsLean® in its Targeted Nutritional Therapy™ (TNT) formula, SomniTR™. This product blend is designed to promote sleep quality and quantity. ForsLean® promotes sleep by increasing cAMP, which increases acetylcholinesterase.* In turn, the amount of free choline in the brain increases and influences feelings of sleepiness.[16] ForsLean® may also promote rest by helping to restore the body’s circadian rhythm.*

Some other important components of SomniTR™ include melatonin (the body’s sleep hormone), pantothenic acid (necessary for melatonin synthesis), and Lactium® (a compound derived from breast milk which increases the activity of the body’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA).* SomniTR™ is a safe and effective way to combat poor sleep.* ForsLean® alone is a safe supplement to promote a wide variety of desirable health outcomes.

For more information about SomniTR’s other unique ingredient, Lactium®, see

[1] Kavitha, C., Rajamani, K., & Vadivel, E. (2010). Coleus forskohlii A comprehensive review on morphology, phytochemistry and pharmacological aspects. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 4(4), 278-285.

[2] Kavitha, Ibid.

[3] Patel, M. B. (2010). Forskolin: A successful therapeutic phytomolecule. East and Central African Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 13(1).

[4] Tomen, D. (2016, September 01). Forskolin. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from

[5] Kavitha, op. cit.

[6] Sabinsa Corp. (2001, April). ForsLean. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from

[7] Tomen, op. cit.

[8] Patel, op. cit.

[9] Kavitha, op. cit.

[10] Kavitha, Ibid.

[11] Patel, op. cit.

[12] Tomen, op. cit.

[13] Tomen, Ibid.

[14] Patel, op. cit.

[15] Tomen, op. cit.

[16] Tomen, Ibid.

Clinical Contributor

Sophie Thompson

Clinical Support Specialist at Sanesco International, Inc.

Sophie recently obtained her degree in Biology from UNCA in Asheville. Born and raised in Asheville, her hobbies include painting, writing and spending quality time with her dog and her family.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Ramona Richard, MS, NC

Ramona Richard, MS, NC

Ramona Richard graduated with honors from the University of California with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s Degree in Health and Nutrition Education. She also holds a Standard Designated Teaching Credential from the State of California, is a California state-certified Nutrition Consultant and a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Ramona has participated in nutrition education in both public and private venues, including high school and college presentations, radio and public speaking for the past 20 years. She is the owner of Radiance, a nutrition consulting company, the Director of Education for Sanesco International, and a medical technical writer.

Disclaimer: The information provided is only intended to be general educational information to the public. It does not constitute medical advice. If you have specific questions about any medical matter or if you are suffering from any medical condition, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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