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Updated 18 February 2013

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), a member of the Asteraceae family, is native to Europe and Asia. It is presumed to have been introduced to the United States by settlers for medicinal purposes. Today, coltsfoot has spread into the northern and middle Atlantic, Midwest, and northern Pacific areas of the United States. It is currently listed as a noxious or invasive weed in several states in the United States.

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RELATED TERMS

Ass's foot, Asteraceae (family), bull's foot, butterbur, colt's foot, cough plant, coughwort, farfara, foal's foot, foalswort, horse foot, horse-hoof, kuandong hua, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, tussilago, Tussilago farfara, winter heliotrope.

BACKGROUND

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), a member of the Asteraceae family, is native to Europe and Asia. It is presumed to have been introduced to the United States by settlers for medicinal purposes. Today, coltsfoot has spread into the northern and middle Atlantic, Midwest, and northern Pacific areas of the United States. It is currently listed as a noxious or invasive weed in several states in the United States.

The leaves and flowering stems of coltsfoot have a long history of medicinal use as an expectorant (to release mucus) and cough suppressant, hence the name tussilago, which translates to cough suppressant. Coltsfoot has been used to treat other respiratory conditions, including asthma, emphysema, and smoker's cough. Coltsfoot has also been used as an astringent, as a demulcent (to soothe mucous membranes), and as a poultice for eczema, skin ulcers, insect bites, and other inflammatory skin conditions.

The flowers and young leaves are edible and may be consumed either raw or cooked. The rootstock has been used to make a sweet syrup.

EVIDENCE TABLE

Conditions

Uses
disclaimer: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Grade*

*Key to grades: A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).

TRADITION

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below. Asthma, astringent, blood thinner, cough, demulcent (soothes mucous membranes), eczema, emphysema, food uses, high blood pressure, inflammation, insect bites, lung disease (from inhalation of silica dust or asbestos), sores.

DOSING

disclaimer: The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for coltsfoot in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for coltsfoot in children.

SAFETY

disclaimer: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to coltsfoot, its components, or other members of the Asteraceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

Use cautiously when taken by mouth or in large amounts. Due to its pyrrolizidine alkaloid content, coltsfoot may potentially be toxic to the liver when consumed in large doses. Clinical reports of adverse effects due to ingestion of coltsfoot are lacking.

Coltsfoot may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.

Coltsfoot may raise blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood pressure.

Use cautiously in patients taking calcium channel blockers.

Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women and infants or children, due to insufficient evidence.

Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to coltsfoot, its components, or other members of the Asteraceae family.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to insufficient evidence.

INTERACTIONS

disclaimer: Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

Coltsfoot may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin©) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix©), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin©, Advil©) or naproxen (Naprosyn©, Aleve©).

Coltsfoot may raise blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs that affect blood pressure.

Coltsfoot may interact with antiasthma drugs, anti-inflammatory agents, calcium channel blockers, cough suppressants, drugs that may damage the liver, or expectorants.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Coltsfoot may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.

Coltsfoot may raise blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that affect blood pressure.

Coltsfoot may also interact with antiasthma herbs and supplements, anti-inflammatory herbs, cough suppressants, expectorants, herbs that affect the heart, herbs that may damage the liver, or pyrrolizidine alkaloid-containing herbs.

ATTRIBUTION

This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

  • Fu JX. [Measurement of MEFV in 66 cases of asthma in the convalescent stage and after treatment with Chinese herbs]. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi 1989;9(11):658-9, 644. View abstract
  • Hwang SB, Chang MN, Garcia ML, et al. L-652,469—a dual receptor antagonist of platelet activating factor and dihydropyridines from Tussilago farfara L. Eur J Pharmacol 1987;141(2):269-281. View abstract
  • Klepser TB, Klepser ME. Unsafe and potentially safe herbal therapies. Am J Health Syst Pharm 1999;56(2):125-138. View abstract
  • Li YP, Wang YM. Evaluation of tussilagone: a cardiovascular-respiratory stimulant isolated from Chinese herbal medicine. Gen Pharmacol 1988;19(2):261-263. View abstract
  • Roder E, Wiedenfeld H, Jost EJ. [Tussilagine - a New Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid from Tussilago farfara.]. Planta Med 1981;43(9):99-102. View abstract
  • Sperl W, Stuppner H, Gassner I, et al. Reversible hepatic veno-occlusive disease in an infant after consumption of pyrrolizidine-containing herbal tea. Eur J Pediatr 1995;154(2):112-116. View abstract
  • Turker AU, Usta C. Biological screening of some Turkish medicinal plant extracts for antimicrobial and toxicity activities. Nat Prod Res 2008;22(2):136-46. View abstract
  • Willett KL, Roth RA, Walker L. Workshop overview: Hepatotoxicity assessment for botanical dietary supplements. Toxicol Sci 2004;79(1):4-9. View abstract
  • Zeller W, de Gols M, Hausen BM. The sensitizing capacity of Compositae plants. VI. Guinea pig sensitization experiments with ornamental plants and weeds using different methods. Arch Dermatol Res 1985;277(1):28-35. View abstract
disclaimer: Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2011 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions. disclaimer: While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy. disclaimer: The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)



Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
 
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