Alpha lobelin is an alkaloid which was first isolated from Lobelia inflata by Heinrich Wieland,1 and shortly afterward studied pharmacologically by his brother, Herman Wieland.2 This alkaloid in pure forms was supposed to be without the toxic effects shown by the older preparations of lobelia, and at the same time to have a marked stimulatory effect on the respiratory center. Herman Wieland claimed that it had specific stimulating action on that center, but that large doses would not produce vomiting; that vagus depression was absent; that there was no cumulative action, and that no lethal dose could be developed, even with the use of one hundred times the physiologic dose. It was also supposed to be a physiologic antidote to respiratory poisons such as morphine, chloral hydrate and carbon monoxide. The alkaloid was first tested clinically by Eckstein, Rominger and Wieland,3 who reported it of value as a respiratory stimulant.
MARSHALL WR. ALPHA LOBELIN AS A RESPIRATORY STIMULANT. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1928;42(2):180-188. doi:10.1001/archinte.1928.00130200032003