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The healing power of coltsfoot

  1. Coltsfoot grows to about 30 centimeters high and has yellow flowers. It likes to grow on roadsides and slopes and sometimes between the grass. You also see it a lot on freshly turned pieces of land; it is a pioneer plant. Originally this plant only grows in Europe and parts of Asia. Coltsfoot has been successfully introduced in North and South America. Coltsfoot is a plant used in phytotherapy, the form of herbal medicine supported by modern research.


  1. Coltsfoot in folk medicine Coltsfoot food and drink Naming Active substances Coltsfoot for lung and throat problems Coltsfoot in emphysematic bronchitis Dose and safety Coltsfoot prohibited Visit a doctor or herbalist

Coltsfoot in folk medicine

  1. In folk medicine coltsfoot is a remedy for urinary tract infections, fever and fatigue. It is also used as an antispasmodic. In Austria, this medicinal plant is traditionally used for respiratory and skin disorders, movement disorders, viral infections, flu, colds, fever, rheumatism and gout. Externally, this plant is applicable in folk medicine as a wound herb on abscesses and ulcers. Because coltsfoot was used for a long time in folk medicine, this plant has been scientifically researched for medicinal properties. These are described below.

Coltsfoot food and drink

  1. The young leaves and flowers of coltsfoot are edible. You can use them in soups, salads and as a side vegetable. The taste of the leaves is slightly bitter, but the bitterness disappears after cooking. As a dried powder, the leaf can serve as an additive in a herbal salt. The dried leaves are also pulverized and used as a salt substitute. Coltsfoot root can be saccharified by keeping it in syrup for a long time; this way you get a natural sweet. The dried leaves and flowers are an excellent herb for making tea that tastes a bit like licorice.


  1. In Latin coltsfoot is called Tussilago farfara. Tussilago is a composition of tussis which means 'cough' and agere, which is Latin for expel. The plant was given this name because it expels the cough. Farfara means 'hoof of the foal'. The Dutch name is a translation of this. The blade is in the shape of a small horseshoe, that is, a horse's hoof.

Active ingredients

  1. The leaves of coltsfoot are mainly used for phytotherapeutic purposes and less often the flowers. It contains the following important active ingredients: mucilages, tannins, bitter substances, essential oil, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, senkirkine, senecionine, tussilagine, isotussilagine, triterpenes, minerals, flavonoids, carotenoids and zinc.

Coltsfoot for lung and throat problems

  1. Coltsfoot has mucilages. These substances have a soothing effect on mucous membranes. In the case of coltsfoot, the mucilages act as expectorants; Excessive and tough mucus is more easily coughed loose. They then make way for less viscous mucilages. This makes it a cough suppressant. In addition, the polysaccharides have an anti-inflammatory effect. They also increase resistance and relieve cramps. This laundry list of medicinal activities is a reason for phytotherapists to prescribe coltsfoot for the following indications:

Coltsfoot in emphysematic bronchitis

  1. The bitter substances turn coltsfoot into a tonic. In combination with the easier coughing-up of mucus, coltsfoot is therefore a good remedy for emphysematic bronchitis; that is a chronic respiratory infection with lung tissue loss. It can be used by drinking coltsfoot tea with honey in the morning. However, do this on a cure basis; with prolonged daily use, pyrrollizidine alkaloids can cause side effects.

Dose and Safety

  1. There are a number of ways to use this medicinal plant.

Coltsfoot prohibited

  1. A pregnant woman drank coltsfoot tea daily. Her child died of liver disease. That was because of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Germany and Austria immediately decided to ban the use of the plant. After that a variant of coltsfoot was bred in which the pyrrolizidine alkaloids are no longer present; it can simply be taken safely. Incidentally, the young child who died is the only occurrence in history while people die daily from regular drugs.

Visit a doctor or herbalist

  1. Much of the information about the medicinal plant mentioned in this article comes from Geert Verhelst's book Great Handbook of Medicinal Plants. That is a handbook in phytotherapy. However, it is not suitable for self-healing. Anyone who is bothered by something should visit a doctor or phytotherapist for a proper diagnosis and choice of the best remedies, tailored to your personal situation. The knowledge and science mentioned here is of a purely informational nature.

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