Coltsfoot contains livertoxic pyrrolizidines. Its use is discouraged. -Henriette.
Also see Hool, 1922: Coltsfoot.
Natural Order—Compositae. Linnean System, Class 19, Syngenesia; Order 2nd, Polygamia-Superflua.
The flower-stalks of Coltsfoot come before the leaves. They are about 6 or 8 inches in height, with one head of flowers on the top of each stem. The flowers are bright yellow; the leaves glaucous above, and downy underneath. In the head of the flowers the florets of the disc are tubular, with five equal segments, furnished with both stamens and pistils, with the anthers of the stamens united or singed together. The florets of the ray are ligulate—that is, strap-shaped—and contain pistils only. It is a perennial, flowering in February, March, and April. It grows generally on clayey soil, by rivers, ditches, and waste land. It is a common plant almost everywhere in England.
Medicinal Properties: Emollient, Demulcent, Expectorant.
It is medicine which may be used with advantage at all times where there is any disease of the lungs.
Its influence is more apparent when there is inflammation present, probably owing to the fact that it contains a large amount of mucilage, which gives protection to the lungs. The following preparation for a common cough and bronchitis has been used for a number of years with good results:—
Coltsfoot ... 1 oz.
Marshmallow Herb ... ½ oz.
Elecampane Root ... ¼ oz.
Cayenne ... ½ teaspoonful
Infuse the whole for 20 minutes in one quart of boiling water; let it stand until cool; strain, and add ½-oz. of Antispasmodic Tincture, i.e., 3rd preparation of Lobelia.
Dose: Two tablespoonfuls every four hours.
(See Dr. England's lectures—"Standard Guide," p.p. 86, etc; and for Hool's Formula, p. 183.)
The following has been used with great success for obstruction of the urine due to stone:—
Coltsfoot ... 1 oz.
Devil's Bit Herb ... ½ oz.
Hemp Agrimony Herb ... ½ oz.
Gum Arabic ... ¼ oz.
Infuse the whole in one quart of boiling water; let it stand for 20 minutes. Dose: One wineglassful four or five times a day.
Health from British Wild Herbs was written by Richard Lawrence Hool, N.A.M.H., in 1918.