How to use coltsfoot in a therapeutic setting?

Coltsfoot is a decorative and pectoral plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. Very widespread in Europe and in the northern regions of Asia, the flowers of this plant appear well before the foliation. Known under the scientific name of Tussilago farfara, coltsfoot has medicinal properties that are widely used in herbal medicine. It is mainly composed of mucilage, flavonoids, tannins, essential oil, vitamin C as well as mineral salts.

Medicinal uses

For millennia, coltsfoot has been known as a plant with many virtues. In natural medicine, its healing abilities are no longer to be proven. Moreover, its common name “cough chaser” is a systematic reminder of its expectorant effect.

This plant is particularly indicated in case of:

  • Cough, sore throat and sore throat
  • Asthma
  • Disorders of the bronchi and trachea
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Skin or tissue inflammation: abscess, cyst or wounds
  • Diarrhea

Forms of use in herbal medicine

The most used parts of the plant are the leaves and the flowers. They can be consumed in the form of:

  • Decoction
  • Infusion
  • Syrup
  • Mother tincture
  • Dry extracts
  • Poultice

Directions for use and recommended dosage

Internal use

  • Infusion: infuse for 10 minutes 1 teaspoon (about 10 g) of dry extracts in 150 ml of boiling water. If needed, add honey to sweeten the taste and drink 3 to 4 cups a day to relieve cough and inflammation of the throat.
  • Syrup : infuse 250 g of fresh flowers in 1 liter of boiling water overnight, filter then add 500 g of sugar and lemon juice. Then, cook the preparation over low heat until a syrup is obtained. The usual dosage is 4 tablespoons spread over the day.
  • Mother tincture: Dilute 25 drops of tincture in water and drink 3 glasses a day.
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External use :

Externally, coltsfoot is used to treat skin or joint injuries.

  • Decoction: for 1 liter of boiling water, you need an amount of 50 to 100 g of dried leaves. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes then strain and let cool. This preparation can be applied directly to the injured part using a gauze or a compress.
  • Poultice: cook fresh leaves. Once cooked, simply apply them to the area to be treated to relieve a sprain.

Precautions for use and contraindications

Coltsfoot is prohibited in pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as in children under 6 years old.

In addition, this plant contains toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Therefore, it is contraindicated in people with liver problems. A study carried out on rats demonstrates, moreover, a carcinogenic effect of this toxin. High-dose, long-term treatment is therefore strongly discouraged.

For safe use, prior consultation with a therapist or health professional is recommended.


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