Lobelia cardinalis [syn. Lobelia fulgens], cardinal flower is a species of Lobelia native to the Americas, from southeastern Canada south through the eastern and southwestern United States, Mexico and Central America to northern Colombia.
North American indigenous peoples used root tea for a number of intestinal ailments and syphilis. Leaf teas were used by them for bronchial problems and colds, inter alia. The Meskwaki people used it as part of an inhalant against catarrh. The Penobscot people smoked the dried leaves as a substitute for tobacco. It may also have been chewed. The plant contains a number of alkaloids. As a member of the genus Lobelia, it is considered to be potentially toxic. Lobelia may have potential as a drug for, or in study of, neurological disorders. The Zuni people use this plant as an ingredient of “schumaakwe cakes” and used it externally for rheumatism and swelling.