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Coltsfoot - Uses, Benefits and Side Effects

Other Name: Tussilago Farfara
Family: Asteraceae

Plant Description

Coltsfoot grows abundantly throughout England, especially along the sides of railway banks and in waste places, on poor stiff soils, growing as well in wet ground as in dry situations. The white woolly, scaly flowering stalks of this plant with their yellow blossoms appear in the spring before the leaves. It has long-stalked, hoof-shaped leaves, about 4 inches across, with angular teeth on the margins. Both surfaces are covered, when young, with loose, white, felted woolly hairs, but those on the upper surface fall off as the leaf expands.

Uses and Benefits of Coltsfoot

Some of the Uses and Benefits of Coltsfoot are:

  • Coltsfoot historically has been used by many herbalists as a cough suppressant. It was considered particularly useful for people with chronic coughs, such as those due to emphysema or silicosis.
  • The plant has been used since at least historical times to treat lung ailments such as asthma and bronchitis.
  • Coltsfoot is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including The Gothic and Small Angle Shades.
  • Herbalists even prescribed the smoking of the herb to those afflicted with breathing ailments--a treatment we would now consider questionable at best.
  • Coltsfoot leaf was originally also approved for the treatment of sore throats.

Recommended Dosage for Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot is commonly incorporated into candies and teas, which are particularly popular in France. It is available in many European countries as dried herb, liquid extract, tincture and syrup form. The dosage for different available forms is given below:

  • Dried Herb: 0.6-2g or by infusion.
  • Liquid Extract: 1:1 in 25% alcohol, 0.6-2ml.
  • Tincture: 1:5 in 45% alcohol, 2-8ml.
  • Syrup: Liquid Extract - 1:4 in syrup, 2-8ml.

Some Adverse Side Effects of Using Coltsfoot

You should right away stop taking your medicine should immediately report to your family health care provider if you experience any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain.
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin.

Other Side Effects of Coltsfoot are:

  • Coltsfoot contains potentially liver-damaging pyrrolizidine alkaloids, with much higher levels appearing in the root than in the leaves or the flowers.
  • Can cause stomach upsets including loss of appetite, nausea and diarrhea.
  • Coltsfoot may also sometimes cause a rise in blood pressure.

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