Friday, 18 February 2011

(6) Seasonal Materia Medica Profile: Colts-foot

Colts-foot - Tussilago farfara

A member of the Daisy Family. The Colts-foot flowers between March and April. It can usually be found in banks, footpaths, damp fields and waste ground. Found in most of Europe, North Asia and North Africa.

Active Constituents

The active components are mucilage, bitters, tannins, flavonoids, pyrrolizidine, alkaloids and essential oils.


Anticatarrhal, relaxing expectorant, demulcent bitter, diuretic, immune stimulant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antitussive.


To treat coughs, sores and ulcers. Flowers reduce inflammation and ease catarrh. Relief of dry unproductive irritative cough, smoker's cough, whooping cough, bronchial asthma. Dr. J. Cullen found a strong decoction of the leaves beneficial for tuberculosis. Dr. E. Percival found it useful in hectic diarrohoea. Has been used with limited success in silicosis and pneumonconiosis. Rubbed herb once used as smoking mixture for bronchial conditions.

A Suitable Winter Remedy

A traditional remedy using dried Colts-foot leaves was to smoke them, these could ease asthma and coughs. The name "tussilago" means cough suppressant.
However another remedy for coughs. Infuse 2 teaspoonsful in 250ml boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink 3 cups daily, sweetened with honey.

Potential "Admixtures"

Colts-foot can be combined with Thyme and White Horehound to ease bronchial conditions. Recent research advices external use only, alternative to Colts-foot are Thyme and Elecampane preferred for internal use.

  1. "Herbs and Healing Plants of Britain & Europe", Dieter Podlech
  2. "Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine", Thomas Bartram

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