Derived from the name Farfarus, which is an ancient name of the White Poplar, coltsfoot is an herb that grows abundantly throughout England, especially along the corners and sides of the railway banks as well as in waste places, poor stiff soils, and in wet grounds. Structurally, coltsfoot has a long-stalked and a hoof-shaped leaves for about four inches across and it has a lanky teeth on the edges. When this herb is young, both the surfaces are covered with white and felted woolly hairs that is anciently rubs off. Prior to the introduction of matches, this felted covering is enveloped in a rag that is dipped in a solution of saltpeter and then dried in the sun for the purpose of making it excellent tinder.
For centuries, the leaves, roots and even flowers of the coltsfoot have been applied medicinally. In the ancient times, the people, especially the herbalists, used the coltsfoot to lessen coughs that caused by all types of conditions. In fact, coltsfoot was thought specifically helpful for those who are affected by chronic coughs, like those due to silicosis and emphysema.
Coltsfoot leaf was also approved as a good treatment for sore throats especially in the German Commission E monograph; however, such function of the coltsfoot has been banned in Germany for internal application.
In terms of its constituents, the coltsfoot generally contains bitter glycosides, mucilage, and tannins that are considered as the major constituents of the herb. With these constituents, coltsfoot is then believed to have an antitissuve, which is a property responsible for cough prevention and treatment, and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, the pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are powerfully toxic, are also contained in the herb.
The traditional use of coltsfoot as a treatment for coughs remains for centuries up to these days. As one of the most well-known treatment for coughs, coltsfoot is usually given along with the other herbs that possess some pectoral properties like Marshmallow, Horehound, and Ground Ivy, to mention a few.
Hence the botanical name of coltsfoot Tussilago means “cough dispeller” many people believed that coltsfoot is best for the lungs, thus it is called “nature’s best herb for the lungs and her most eminent thoracic”. Generally, the leaves of coltsfoot are smoked by those who wanted to find relief for their cough. And due to such popularity, the leaves of this herb are then the basis of the Tobacco, which is the popular British herb.
In relation to that, many people that smoking the leaves of coltsfoot will relive asthma as well as the hard breathing of old bronchitis. In fact, there are some claims that those who are suffering from catarrh, asthma, and other lung difficulties find much benefit from smoking the leaves of coltsfoot.
From the herb, the coltsfoot tea is made for the same purpose and the Coltsfoot Rock, for years, has been considered a domestic remedy for coughs. A syrup form is also made from its flower-stalks, which is now much suggested for the purpose of treating chronic bronchitis.
However, before taking the herb supplement for the treatment of coughs and lung difficulties, one should consider that the coltsfoot root is not recommended for internal use since it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are potential for liver toxicity. And those who have used it must know that coltsfoot is not used for more than a month consecutively unless it is recommended by the doctor.