(Some plants in the Asteraceae contain hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Coltsfoot is among them. More info here: Livertoxic PAs --Henriette.)
Coltsfoot flowers consist of the dried flowering stems of the common coltsfoot, Tussilago Farfara, Linn. (N.O. Compositae). The flowers of the coltsfoot appear in the early spring. The peduncles are simple, bear numerous reddish bracts, and whitish hairs terminating in small, dark red glands. The flower heads are terminal and possess numerous ray florets with very narrow, bright yellow, ligulate corollas; the fruits are provided with an abundant pappus of white simple hairs. The flowers have no characteristic odour or taste.
Constituents and Uses.—The flowering stems probably contain constituents similar to those of the leaves, and are employed in the preparation of Syrupus Tussilaginis.
- Syrupus Tussilaginis, B.P.C.—SYRUP OF COLTSFOOT. 34 in 100.
- A domestic remedy for coughs. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (1 to 1 fluid drachm).
Coltsfoot leaves are obtained from the common coltsfoot, Tussilago Farfara, Linn. (N.O. Compositae), and dried before use. The leaves are cordate in shape, petiolate, usually 10 to 15 centimetres wide, though attaining 25 centimetres. Margin sinuate-dentate, each tooth terminating in a hard, brown point. Upper surface greyish-green, wrinkled; under surface covered with loose, white, felted hairs. The leaves have no characteristic odour or taste. The leaves of the butterbur, Tussilago Petasites, Linn., closely resemble coltsfoot leaves, but may be distinguished by their more rounded outline, larger size, and less sinuate margin.
Constituents.—The leaves contain mucilage, tannin, and a trace of a bitter glucoside.
Action and Uses.—Coltsfoot leaves are used as a demulcent to relieve chronic and irritable cough. A decoction (1 in 20 is prepared which is taken in doses of a wineglassful or more several times daily. The leaves are also an ingredient of herb tobaccos.
"Coltsfoot rock" is a domestic remedy for pulmonary complaints.
- Decoctum Tussilaginis, B.P.C.—DECOCTION OF COLTSFOOT. 1 in 20.
- Used as a demulcent to relieve chronic and irritable cough. Dose.—60 to 120 mils (2 to 4 fluid ounces), or more.