Coltsfoot | What's that?
Scientific name: Tussilago farfara L.
Family: Composite family (Asteraceae)
Origin: Coltsfoot grows on chalky and loamy soils in central Europe, Asia and parts of Africa.
Botany: This undemanding herbaceous plant grows to a height of 10 to 30 cm. The undersides of its large leaves are covered in soft hairs. Its yellow blossoms have a slight honey-like smell.
Flowering season: February to April
What makes this plant so special
At first glance, coltsfoot is easy to mistake for a dandelion. Yet this medicinal plant has a distinctive feature: its blossoms grow before its leaves. The flowers are bright yellow and appear very early, between February and April. Only once they have wilted do the leaves grow. These are similar to a horseshoe in size and shape, giving the coltsfoot its name.
Also known as ‘Tussilago farfara’ – derived from the Latin ‘tussis’ (cough) and ‘ago’ (act on) – coltsfoot was the first effective treatment ever to be used against coughs. In traditional medicine, coltsfoot is frequently used as an expectorant in pectoral teas, for instance, to relieve bronchitis, asthma and chronic coughs. The mucilage it contains forms a protective layer around mucous membranes, while tannins strengthen them and minerals help them rebuild. Coltsfoot is also used to expand the bronchial tubes and relieve congestion in delicate lung tissue. Tussilago farfara is also used as a tea, syrup or tincture for this purpose.
As well as its expectorant properties, coltsfoot is also used for small abrasions, pimples, blemishes and eczema due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Those who suffer from dry skin also often experience good results from using coltsfoot extract. The medicinal plant contains antibacterial substances that can have an anti-inflammatory effect – a use dating all the way back to Hildegard of Bingen.
Coltsfoot is also a key component in effective treatment of scalp and hair issues. It can soothe irritated scalps experiencing redness, itchiness and flakiness. It soothes, balances and gently nourishes the scalp.