Coltsfoot tea is quite known in the world of traditional medicine as being effective in the treatment of lung, chest and bronchial problems.
Coltsfoot is a perennial, woolly herbaceous plant that spreads by seeds and rhizomes. In the early spring, the coltsfoot plant produces a stem with a yellow flower head, resembling a dandelion. When the stem withers and dies, the hoof shaped leaves appear.
Also known as tussilago farfara, coltsfoot is native to Europe and England, but can also be found in North America. The coltsfoot plant typically reaches a height of between 10 to 30 centimeters.
The active constituents of coltsfoot are mucilage, flavonoids, tannins, and pyrrolizidine alkaloids. These coltsfoot constituents are known to impart the expectorant, antitussive, demulcent, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic and anti-catarrhal properties of the herb.
Recent studies have pointed out that due to the presence of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids, the frequent use of coltsfoot may contribute to liver toxicity and even cancer. However, the risks are generally seen by many as small and the health benefits outweigh these risks. Pregnant women, infants and children are advised not to use coltsfoot, though. The long-term use of this herb is also not advised.
The health benefits of coltsfoot can be derived through tea infusion, capsules, syrups and extracts. To make coltsfoot tea, place a teaspoon of dried coltsfoot herbs (the leaves and sometimes, the buds and flowers are used) in a cup of hot water. Then let it soak for about thirty minutes.
The health benefits attributed to coltsfoot tea are the following:
- This tea is said to be effective in treating and relieving lung, chest and bronchial ailments such as:
- Whooping cough
- Dry cough
- May help in improving the immune system.
- May help in combatting inflammations.
- By using the crushed flowers and when applied externally, this tea supposedly cured certain skin conditions. More research is warranted in this area, however.