Health benefits of Coltsfoot

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Coltsfoot Quick Facts
Name: Coltsfoot
Scientific Name: Tussilago farfara
Origin Tussilago farfara
Colors Brown
Shapes Cylindrical, glabrous, stemmed, 3 to 11 mm long
Coltsfoot commonly known as Tussilago farfara is a low growing perennial herb that has fleshy and woolly leaves. British Tobacco, Butterbur, Bullsfoot, Coughwort, Foal’s-Foot, Rower Velure, Horse-Foot, Hallfoot, Horsehoof, Ass’s Foot, Fieldhove, Foalswort and Donnhove are its further common names. It is commonly found in England in the sides of railway banks, in wet ground, on poor stiff soils and in waste places. This plant is inherent to Europe but also could be found in Canada and United States in sandy places. Coltsfoot has become an inherent part of folk medicine in China for the centuries. Coltsfoot belongs to the daisy family Asteraceae that possess a yellow to golden flower which could be found in spring. When the flower blooms in spring, it resembles common dandelion. The leaves of hoof shaped emerge after the stem dies. The seeds are used to stuff pillows and mattresses.


Coltsfoot is a perennial herb that grows up to the height of 2-20 inches (5-50 cm). It is available in open and disturbed areas. Also could be found on forest edges, roadsides and steep slopes which are prone to landslides. It is tolerable to wet and poorly drained areas as well as riverbanks that are vulnerable to spring flooding.


Flowers look alike common dandelion which are small with disc florets and yellow ray florets. Ray florets are fertile whereas disc florets are sterile. Each flowers measures about 0.6 in. (1.5 cm) across that is surrounded by an involuntary bracts. It consists of five stamens. The flowers bloom in early spring. The stems of flowers comprises of wooly hairs and scaly bracts and measures 5-15 cm (2 to 6) inches high.


The achenes like seeds that possess small pappus that resembles common dandelion. It is small nutlet of 0.3-0.4 cm (0.1-0.2 inch) long. Each seed weighs about 0.3 mg.


After the flowers become mature, then the leaves of Coltsfoot appears which grows in form of basal rosette. Leaves have long petioled and are of heart shaped measuring to the length of 5 to 20 cm (2-8 inches).          


The primary tap root grows deep of 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) before the leaves appear. After germination of 3-4 months the primary root dies. Meanwhile, the adventitious roots of 1.5 m (5 feet) deep forms from first nodes of stem. Coltsfoots possess extensive and deep rhizomes.

Traditional uses

  • It acts as a demulcent, emollient and tonic.
  • 1-3 or 4 fluid ounces of decoction helps to provide relief from asthma, coughs, pulmonary complaints and whooping cough.
  • The powder form of leaves is useful for treating headache, giddiness and nasal obstructions.
  • For scrofulous tumors, use it in the form of poultice externally.
  • Colt’s foot is used to treat chest problems and coughs.
  • It is used for treating chest complaints.
  • It is useful for respiratory problems, coughs, silicosis and chronic emphysema.
  • The poultice made from flowers provides soothing effect on the skin problems such as eczema, bites, sores, ulcers and inflammation.
  • Leaves, flowers and buds are used to treat throat irritation and dry cough.
  • Use Coltsfoot in form of medicinal cigarette that provides relief from asthma.
  • It is also useful for the conditions such as laryngitis, bronchitis, influenza, pertussis and lung congestion.
  • The decoction of 1 quart boiled water and 1 oz. of leaves with honey. An intake of tea cupful doses is helpful for asthma and colds.
  • Apply compress of cold or hot Coltsfoot tea to swollen areas or the compress could also be used on stomach or forehead when one has fever.
  • The poultice made from flowers or leaves are applied to sores, eczema, insect bites and ulcers.


  • Not advised to be used by pregnant and lactating women.
  • Boil the plant before ingesting because it has substances that are toxic to liver.
  • It should not be provided to the children who are under six years of age.
  • It may cause allergic reactions.
  • Limit the intake of 3 cups of Coltsfoot in a day.
  • Coltsfoot should not be combined with the blood pressure medication.
  • Those who are allergic to ragweed should use Coltsfoot with caution.
  • If you feel nausea then stop using this herb immediately.

How to Eat         

  • Leaves are added to salads or used to make tea.
  • Flowers or buds and leaves could be consumed raw or cooked.
  • Leaves are added to soups, salads or cooked as vegetable.
  • Prepare tea from the dried or fresh leaves.
  • The dried burnt leaves are used as a substitute for salt.
  • Its extracts are used to provide flavor to candies.
  • Dried and chopped flowers could be added to fritters and pancakes.
  • Leaves are added to stews and soups.






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