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Family: Asteraceae

Latin name: Tussilago farfara

Common names: Coltsfoot, Tash Plant, Bull’s Foot, Butterbur, Coughwort, Foal’s foot, Foalswort

Parts Used: Flowers & leaves

Constituents: Flavonoids (rutin, hyperoside, isoquercetin); mucilage, consisting of polysaccharides based on glucose, galactose, fructose, arabinose, xyolse; inulin; pyrrolizidine alkaloids, including senkirkine and tussilagine; tannins1


Coltsfoot is a perennial herbaceous plant that spreads by seeds and rhizomes.  Because it spreads by rhizomes, it is often found in colonies containing dozens of plants.  The flowers first start to appear in early spring, and although they look similar to dandelion, they appear before dandelions.


The leaves appear only after the seeds are set and the flowers have died back.  They are large, heart-shaped with a slightly toothed edge.  The leaves have shown marked amounts of zinc, which explains their excellent anti-inflammatory actions.


Traditionally Coltsfoot was used to treat lung conditions, including coughs and asthma.  In fact, the name tussilago means “cough suppressant”.  The crushed flowers were used topically to cure skin conditions.

Therapeutic Properties

Anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antitussive, antiulcerogenic, astringent, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant (relaxing, stimulating), febrifuge, nervine, relaxant, tranquilizer, peripheral vasodilator, vulnerary



The plant contains hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can have negative effects on the liver.  Caution must be observed when using the plant medicinally.  Coltsfoot should only be used by persons with in depth knowledge of herbs.


Not Recommended:

  • Pregnancy, lactation, liver disease, infants, seniors, those who are chronically ill
    • Avoid external use in pregnancy if the skin is broken
    • Use to a maximum of 20% in formulation


With Caution:

  • Sedative and mood-altering medications

Medicinal Uses


  • Topical use for boils, abscesses, eczema, insect bites, skin inflammation
  • Topical and inflammatory digestive conditions
    • Ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, Crohn’s disease, etc.

Respiratory System

  • Sinus congestion, sinusitis, colds, flu, pleurisy, asthma, allergies, whooping cough, irritating coughs (including smokers cough)
  • Chronic or acute bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, emphysema, laryngitis
  • Fevers (do not use on very young children)

Urinary System

  • Inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract
  • Cystitis

Nervous System

  • Stress related conditions, muscle tension, tension headaches etc.


Magical Properties

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Powers: Love, Visions

Magical Uses:

Add to sachets and use in a spells of peace and tranquility.

The leaves when smoked were traditionally said to cause visions.



Class Notes – Living Earth School

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs – Scott Cunningham

Earthwise Herbal, The – Matthew Wood

Holistic Herbal – David Hoffman

Medical Herbalism – David Hoffman 1

New Encylopedia of Herbs & Their Uses – Deni Bown