Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, is a bright yellow, little flower in the Aster family. The Latin name Tussilago means ‘to act on a cough’. It is native to Europe and areas of Western and Central Asia. I have seen it scattered along the roadways of upstate NY and in New England. It likes to grow in disturbed soil, like Mullein. A common theme with many herbs that are good for breathing issues.
Coltsfoot is commonly used as an Upper Respiratory Herbal Tea. Uses include bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, breathing issues, coughs and colds, swelling and water retention, and tuberculosis. It can also be taken as a tincture for these issues.
Herbal Healing Uses:
As a tea, always make as an infusion. Boil the water, removed from heat, add the herb, and let it steep for 20 minutes covered.
I have added Coltsfoot to many of my stop smoking products (teas and smoking blends) and breathing tinctures (Breathe Free Tincture). I have also used it in my Knock out Tea that is used to induce sleep and help with drug withdrawal symptoms.
Externally, it is often used as a poultice for inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, and stings.
Recently, there have been reports of liver toxicity due to Coltsfoot. Both of the reports have now been found to have not been the result of Coltsfoot. As a precaution, Germany has banned Tussilago farfara and a legal variety of the herb Tussilago farfara ‘Wein’ has been created. It is free of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are considered toxic.
Metaphysical and Spiritual Uses:
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How have you used Coltsfoot?
What other herbs would you like to see covered in this series?