Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
The coltsfoot with its characteristic “hoof-shaped” leaves is a composite plant that is one of the first spring-flowering plants in our country.
The perennial plant is a well-tried medicinal herb that was already described by the doctors of antiquity. They recommended the smoke of the lighted leaves against coughs and purulent ulcers. In the Middle Ages, Hildegard von Bingen described the importance of coltsfoot for diseases of the respiratory tract. The popular name “chest lettuce” refers to this use.
The value-determining constituents of coltsfoot are found in the leaves of the plant. They contain 6-10% acid mucilage polysaccharides, inulin, around 5% tannins, as well as bitter substances, essential oils and many minerals.
Coltsfoot is considered a classic mucilage drug used for cough irritation and hoarseness. The plant mucilages form a protective layer in the upper respiratory tract. This keeps the irritant effect away from the receptors and inhibits the triggering of the cough. The anti-inflammatory effect of the medicinal plant is used to treat inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat.
In folk medicine, the plant is also considered to stop bleeding due to its tannin content. It is also used for diarrhoea and externally for eczema and abscesses due to its antibacterial and astringent effect.
The dried leaves are usually used as a tea and are a component of many cough tea mixtures. Alternatively, the pressed juice is used. Coltsfoot preparations are also used as poultices or compresses.