2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Coltsfoot

What Is It?

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) may qualify as the world’s oldest cough remedy. Folk healers have been using the bright yellow flowers, roots, and hoof-shaped, wooly leaves of this daisy family member for centuries to suppress dry coughs and soothe sore throats. In fact, part of the plant’s scientific name (Tussilago) stems from the Latin word for “cough.” Shop owners in eighteenth century France painted an image of the plant on their signs to let passersby know that they sold healing herbs.

Other common names for the plant include coughwort, cough plant, and horse-hoof (a nod to its hoof-shaped leaves). In addition to treating coughs, coltsfoot also has a reputation for easing chronic respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Although native to Europe, the ground-hugging perennial can also be found growing wild in northern parts of the United States and southern Canada.

Enthusiasm for this ancient healing herb has dampened in recent years with the discovery that coltsfoot contains potentially liver-toxic substances called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). Some sources recommend against using the herb at all for this reason. Others recommend moderation, taking the herb on a limited basis at reasonable doses. Because the content of PAs is unpredictable, Germany’s Commission E recommends avoiding the herb for any medicinal purpose. Considering the vast array of cough preparations on the market, it does make sense to avoid one that has the potential to cause serious liver damage

Specifically, coltsfoot was originally used to:

Reduce the urge to cough. Coltsfoot works as an expectorant, stimulating the tiny hairs (cilia) that propel mucus out of air passages. This action makes a cough more productive. But herbalists formerly used coltsfoot for a dry cough, coating and soothing the throat, making it less vulnerable to irritation. However, Germany’s renowned Commission E no longer endorses the use of coltsfoot for any medicinal purpose.

Minimize asthma-related wheezing. Recent research indicates that the buds of the coltsfoot plant suppress the body’s production of platelet-activating factor, a protein in the blood involved in triggering the narrowing of the air passages that prompts wheezing. In one study done in China, 66 people with asthma experienced some benefit when taking coltsfoot. Again, numerous conventional medications and even small amounts of the herb ephedra are better choices when treating asthma.

Forms

Fluid
Juice
Syrup
Dried herb/Tea
Tincture

Dosage Information

Special tips:

Given the presence of potentially liver-toxic PAs, Wholehealthchicago concurs that coltsfoot should be avoided and recommends using other herbs for cough and asthma instead.

Possible Side Effects
Liver damage and liver cancer .

Cautions

Although small amounts of coltsfoot were once considered reasonable, it was found that the actual amount of Pas was unpredictable in any particular batch of the herb. It was this unpredictablility that led Commission E to withdraw their endorsement of the herb.


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Telemedicine – Now Available at WholeHealth Chicago

In order to maintain your continuity of care, WholeHealth Chicago now offers telemedicine appointments with most of our practitioners. During a telemedicine visit, you and your healthcare provider can review medical history, discuss symptoms, arrange for prescriptions, and more. When necessary, labs and diagnostic imaging can be ordered from a facility near your home, and our Natural Apothecary can ship supplements quickly to your door.

Please contact Patient Services for details and scheduling a telemedicine appointment, or to change a regular appointment to telemedicine by calling 773-296-6700.

We’re looking forward to meeting with you in our virtual consultation room soon.

Upcoming Workshops

**Adrenal Boost!
Tue, April 28, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
With Naturopath Caley Scott and Yoga Therapist Renee Zambo

Course Fee: $75.00
(Includes custom adrenal herbal tincture and a description of yoga practices you can do at home.)

Feeling Tired? Need help improving fatigue? Learn to boost your energy! Dr. Scott will teach you about herbs that support your adrenal glands to help boost your energy and adapt to stress. Renee will teach practices that restore and build energy, support daily activities, and ensure sound rest at night. More →

Recent Health Tips

  • Coronavirus Immune Superstar #1: Vitamin D

    Take 5000 IU daily. Here’s why: • The role of vitamin D in the human body is complex, with ramifications well beyond healthy bones. One of D’s effects is to trigger your immune system into a high-alert, anti-viral state. • Low Vitamin D increases your susceptibility to viral infections, likely including Covid-19. Former CDC director Tom Frieden has publicly stated that vitamin D may protect Read More

  • Important: High-Dose Vitamin C

    Look. I know you’re crazy busy at home, sheltering in place, sleeping a lot, eating too many carbs, binging marginal TV, and generally going bonkers. You don’t have a lot of spare time. But please click to this article in the New York Post. Too busy for that? OK. I’ll summarize. Intravenous vitamin C in high doses is being used both in China and in Read More

  • Taking Care of Yourself while Staying Home

    Seeing Your Chiropractic Physician via Telemedicine? Absolutely! I know what you’re thinking. ‘How can you possibly give me an adjustment during a video conference?’  The short answer is I can’t, but when coming to our office for an in-person appointment is difficult or impossible, I can continue to help. As a chiropractic physician, I’ve been working with patients via telemedicine for several years, and it’s Read More

Join our Discount Program

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!