Coltsfoot is often mistaken for the dandelion plant. The leaves and the flowering buds are the primary parts of the plants used for medicinal purposes. The flowers die before the leaves appear, which is how coltsfoot originally got its the name, Filius ante patrem, which translates to “the son before the father.”
Coltsfoot has been traditionally used as:
- An antioxidant (to strengthen the immune system)
- An antitussive (to ease cough)
- An antimicrobial (to kill bacteria)
- An anti-inflammatory agent (to lower inflammation)
Although coltsfoot is commonly used to treat several common maladies, again, there is a lack of clinical research evidence to back up these claims. Medical conditions said to improve with the use of coltsfoot include:
- Lung cancer
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Upper respiratory infections
- Sore throat
- Skin disorders (such as inflammation)
Coltsfoot is commonly made into a tea, using the leaves or flowers of the plant. Other preparations include a topical (for the skin) flower compress to treat skin problems, such as inflammation.
Some people smoke the herb, said to be effective for respiratory disorders, but the clinical study evidence does not back up the safety or efficacy of smoking coltsfoot. In addition, the safe and effective use of coltsfoot in a tea, or to treat skin problems is not backed up by scientific evidence.
The herb should be used with even more caution in specific situations. These include:
- Infants or children
- Pregnant women: Coltsfoot is thought to potentially cause birth defects or liver damage
- Breastfeeding moms: As coltsfoot can enter the breastmilk and cause liver damage to the breastfed baby, nursing moms should avoid coltsfoot (including those products that proclaim to be “certified hepatotoxic (liver toxicity) PA-free”
- Those with liver problems: Coltsfoot may worsen liver conditions
- People with allergies to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, or related plants
- Individuals with high blood pressure
- Those with heart disease
- People with bleeding disorders
Not for internal use. Do not apply to broken or abraded skin. Do not use when nursing or pregnant.
We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only.