Medicinal Uses of Coltsfoot Leaves and Flowers

Coltsfoot ~ Tussilago farfara L. is one of the first wild flowers to bloom in Ontario in spring time.

Coltsfoot grows all around Georgian Bay, as it prefers to grow near water. You will find it in wetter areas near stream banks and ditches. It looks like dandelion flowers, and it is from the same Aster family. The flowers resemble a bent horse leg before and after flowering, because they nod and arch over the stem.

The leaves appear after the flowers have gone to fluffy seed, which fly through the air in puffy white little clouds.

The leaves look lung shaped and treat lung conditions, as it helps to reduce inflammation and spasms. It’s name Tussilago hints to its anti-tussive properties and is used mainly to treat coughs and colds.

It is mildly bitter, demulcent, astringent and cooling.

Coltsfoot is a medium strength remedy and should be used under the guidance of a qualified practitioner.

Due to the prescence of alkaloids, this herb should not be used in large doses continuously.


Common Name Coltsfoot leaves/ flowers
Latin Name Tussilago farfara
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial flowers bloom first in spring and then turn to seed, leaves follow in May/ June
Target Organs respiratory, throat
Common Uses Lungs: acute chronic lung chest infections, irritating dry coughs, External leaves: wounds, bruises,
Properties relaxing/ secretolytic expectorant, demulcent, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic, diuretic, anti-catarrhal, emollient
Constituents Flowers: flavonoids: rutin, carotene, taraxanthin, arnidiol, farfardiol, tannin, Essential oils

Leaves:mucilage, polysaccharides, tannin, bitter glycosides, inulin, sitosterol, zinc

Traces of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, hormonal substances, calcium, magnesium, sodium, trace minerals

Cautions Medium strength remedy: Due to traces of pyrrolizidine alkaloids do not use for extended periods of time at high dosages. Do not use with children under the age of 8, during pregnancy or lactation.
Dosage Tincture: 1-5ml                Tea: 6-14g

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