Also known as coughwort, and horsehoof, coltsfoot is an herb known scientifically as Tussilago farfara. Coltsfoot belongs to the daisy family and has traditionally been used mainly to treat respiratory conditions. The benefits of coltsfoot include treating asthma, bronchitis, influenza, laryngitis and lung congestion but also extend to skin and hair care.

As may be implied from its Latin name, coltsfoot is reputed to have antitussive properties. Many parts of the plant have historically been used in medicine including its flowers, buds and leaves. It has mainly been used to treat throat irritation, dry coughs and a host of respiratory complaints. Traditional Chinese practitioners in particular have used the herb for asthma, coughs, laryngitis and bronchitis.

Coltsfoot is also an ingredient in various herbal remedies to treat respiratory conditions. It sounds a bit counterintuitive but the herb has even been smoked historically to deal with wheezing and coughing. It is difficult to recommend using it in this way since smoke is potentially highly irritating to the respiratory system.

The reason that coltsfoot has such a long history of use in medicine is the presence of various medicinal compounds. The herb contains a mucilage compounds, tannins, carotenoids, flavonoids and terpene alcohols. According to studies, the herb contains mucilage at a concentration of around 8% while it also yields certain sugars such as fructose, glucose and galactose.

Preparation / Dosage

Put a teaspoon of coltsfoot into a 200ml cup of boiled water. Cover it and let it brew for 10 minutes. Strain and drink a cup three times per day, after meals.

For Sore Throats

One of the main uses both historically and in the present day of coltsfoot is to treat sore throats. It is considered effective because of the mucilage content of the herb which gives it a powerful demulcent effect. Burning the herb or inhaling its vapors steeped in boiling water is not recommended because the mucilage is expected to be destroyed by the heat.

However, there is a single source that mentions that coltsfoot can be used in a medicinal cigarette form to help relieve the symptoms of asthma. This report was published back in the mid 1970s and there have been no follow up studies to verify its findings.

As well as being used for sore throats, coltsfoot has also been used to deal with various related conditions including bronchitis, influenza, laryngitis, lung congestion and whooping cough. In many parts of Europe, coltsfoot is among the most popular herbal remedies for various chest and respiration ailments.

Anti-inflammatory Benefits

Coltsfoot is widely used to relieve inflammation both internally and externally. Several studies have indicated that the herb contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids and polysaccharides giving the herb potential applications against asthma and other inflammatory conditions.

For The Skin

As well as its anti-inflammatory abilities, coltsfoot also contains natural antioxidant properties which may help protect the skin and reverse the damage done by environmental free radicals. It can be applied topically to your skin and is an ingredient in a number of commercial cosmetic products.

According to many users, coltsfoot can work miracles on the skin, helping to rejuvenate the complexion and reducing the visibility of age marks and wrinkles.

For The Hair

Coltsfoot contains a rich variety of natural compounds that are suitable for treating the hair. The herb can be added to shampoos or conditioners to help treat dandruff or simply to add strength and sheen to the hair. You could also try making your own home made coltsfoot hair preparation by following the recipe below.


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