One of the cough medicines that I use often as a herbalist, is Tussilago farfara, or coltsfoot. I was delighted to find a display of the flowers with their scaly stems when I was walking around a rather boggy churchyard today. The botanical name comes from the Latin, ‘tussis’ – cough. The freshly blooming flowers are used to make a tincture, usually with flowers that are dried. Flowers that are too old when picked and dried tend to turn into wonderful seed ‘clocks,’ not quite what the herbalist has in mind though much sought after by small birds for the lining of their nests. It likes to bloom in damp places during spring time, the leaves follow later, beginning as felted, fluffy bundles with that horseshoe, or should I say ‘coltsfoot’ shaped edge to the hairy leaves.

I would use coltsfoot herbal tincture as part of a blend for an irritating cough. It is a soothing expectorant useful for both short term and chronic problems; from a cough and cold, to asthma, bronchitis or emphysema (COPD). Flowers and leaves are also used in tea blends for the same problems. The Eclectic physicians used the leaves as a poultice for scrofulous tumours, boils and ulcers in today’s terminology.

Coltsfoot rock and lozenges were certainly on the sweet shop and pharmacy shelves until recently and thyme and coltsfoot cough lozenges can occasionally be found in pharmacies today.

To book an appointment with herbalist Lizzie Foulon please contact the clinic on 01865 558561

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