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Saturday
Apr162011

Coltsfoot 

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) opened its flowers 2 weeks ago. It is one of the earliest of early spring bloomers. Coltsfoot gets its common name from the shape of its leaves which supposedly look like the hoof print of a horse. They certainly don't look like any hoof print I've seen except in the vaguest sense, but there you go.  Its flowers (which somewhat resemble small dandelions and are the same vibrant yellow) open in early spring, while its leaves don't emerge until late spring when the flowers have mostly died back.

Both the flowers and leaves are used medicinally. The flowers are only used fresh or as a fresh tincture, whereas the leaves can be used fresh or dried as a tincture or infused oil. Collect the flowers early in their flowering period before they become fertilized (they bend over once they're fertilized), and the leaves early in summer when they are about the width of your hand wide (around 15cm). If the leaves have red spots on them, they are past the time when they can be harvested. The tincture of coltsfoot should contain both leaves and flowers in a 1:1 ratio, so you need to make up a tincture of each separately and then combine them later after they've macerated (steeped) and been pressed.

Coltsfoot is mainly used for acute and chronic conditions of the respiratory system. It relaxes the lungs and helps to expel mucus, is anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic and has immune stimulating properties. It is excellent for such conditions as asthma, whooping cough, bronchitis, hayfever and stuffy sinuses.

It is also used to treat inflammation and irritation of the mucus membranes of the digestive, respiratory, urinary, and reproductive tracts for such conditions as ulcers, colitis, cystitis and sore throats.

Externally it is used for healing wounds and makes a great emergency first aid remedy in the field.

The leaves of Coltsfoot can be dried and used in a smoke mixture. It was used traditionally in a smoking blend for asthma and other lung conditions. If you are trying to quit smoking, this is a plant you can use blended with tobacco and other herbs to help you cut down gradually.

Coltsfoot does come with a caution as it contains a small amount of pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are toxic to the liver. It should not be used in pregnancy or nursing, for anyone under 3 or over 70, or with liver disease. Do not use this herb for more than 2 - 3 months at a chronic dose or 2 - 3 weeks at acute dosages. There is no need, though, to exclude this very valuable herb from your herbal apothecary if you follow the above guidelines.

References (3)

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    Response: bizxwires.com
    Dreaming Willow Natural Therapies - Blog - Coltsfoot
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    Dreaming Willow Natural Therapies - Blog - Coltsfoot
  • Response
    Response: fakelandia.com
    Dreaming Willow Natural Therapies - Blog - Coltsfoot

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