Coltsfoot - chasing away cough
In early spring, as soon as the snowdrifts melt, unusual “suns” appear on the dark warming thawed patches. Large, bright yellow, on a high peduncle, they pull their light baskets to the sun. There is no leaf in plants, only inflorescences. Cheerful, joyful, causing a smile. It blooms coltsfoot - a perennial herbaceous plant known since ancient times. It is used to treat colds and inflammatory diseases in official and traditional medicine to date.
The coltsfoot belongs to the family of asters (Asteraceae) In the genus is represented by the only species Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara). The Latin name tussilago is translated as “chasing away cough”, the species epithet farfara - “carrying flour”. The second name is associated with a whitish coating on the underside of the leaves, as if sprinkled with grayish flour. Hence another name for coltsfoot - flour-bearer. Widely used as a medicinal product, coltsfoot has many other synonyms: king-potion, runnik, sand flower, leaves, leaves, uncle leaves, pebbles, burdock, double-faced, mother grass, tobacco grass, water burdock, burdock frost, horse's hoof, etc.
Coltsfoot belongs to the plants of Eurasia and is widespread in the regions of the Russian Federation. Its overgrown curtains occupy areas free from sod from the southern regions to the Urals, and capture the Leningrad and Murmansk regions. It grows on the peninsulas of Kanin and Kolguyev, in the Malo- and Bolshezemelskaya tundra. In the Asian part of Russia it is found throughout Siberia (Southern, Western, Eastern), the Caucasus, Kazakhstan, and in some areas of the Far East.
Both local and imported plant (Far East) coltsfoot is unpretentious to the environment, but still prefers damp places. It grows on almost all types of soils, in deciduous forests, on the banks of reservoirs and rivers, in fields, vacant lots, landfills, slopes of ravines, quarries, along roads.
Biological description of coltsfoot
Coltsfoot is a perennial rhizome of a herbaceous plant, 5-30 cm high. The rhizome is creeping, long, forms flower-bearing and vegetative shoots. Rhizome is a storage organ.
The plant begins to vegetate from early flowering immediately after the snow melts. On tall peduncles covered with reddish scaly leaves (scales), single inflorescences appear - head-shaped baskets with a diameter of 2.0 to 2.5 cm. - yellow shades with the aroma of honey. Reed flowers of coltsfoot prolific. Central flowers are bisexual, barren. Flowering occurs, depending on the climate of the region, from March to April. The basket has a single-row bedspread. After flowering, it wilts, turning into a downy head from miniature umbrellas.
The fruit of coltsfoot - achene, resembles a small cylinder with a tuft of soft hairs, contributing to a greater spread of seeds. After ripening, the flower stalks die off.
About a week after the beginning of flowering, leaves bloom on the lower part of the vegetative shoots of coltsfoot. Dark green, long-grained, they form large, simple leaf blades of a rounded-cordate, angularly-rounded, cordate shape with serrated edges, sometimes resembling the lower surface of a horse's hoof.
A distinctive feature of coltsfoot, which immediately recognize the plant, is a different color of the upper and lower sides of the leaves. The upper part is smooth, dark green, shiny, has an increased evaporation function, therefore it is colder to the touch (stepmother). The lower part is whitish, due to dense small pubescence. It feels soft, tender (like mother’s hands), noticeably warmer - hence the name coltsfoot.
Collection and procurement of raw coltsfoot
For medicinal purposes, leaves are most often used, less often - inflorescences and rhizome.
Details on the general rules for the collection and drying of raw materials of medicinal plants can be found in the article "How to properly collect and dry medicinal herbs"
Harvesting coltsfoot inflorescences
Floral raw materials are harvested first. Collect inflorescences from lighted areas. The concentration of beneficial elements and compounds is higher in flowers in sunny areas than in forest and shaded plants. Coltsfoot inflorescences are best collected on dry cloudy days, not earlier than three days after rainy or wet weather. You can not collect inflorescences in landfills, grazing, near roads, industrial enterprises. Inflorescences do not wash. Therefore, it is not recommended to collect highly dusty and contaminated inflorescences.
Coltsfoot flowers are plucked without a peduncle, only a basket. Inflorescences are collected in free containers so that they do not bar. Houses are immediately laid out on tables covered with absorbent paper or natural fabric, burlap; You can use metal mesh made of stainless steel.
For drying, use a ventilated room, dry with a draft or with good ventilation; when drying, it is very important not to allow the flowers to rot, which will then rot; when dried, the flowers of coltsfoot are constantly gently tedded and turned over.
If, during the drying process, the flowers of the coltsfoot swell, turn into flying umbrellas, it means that the cleaning was carried out late and such inflorescences are not used for the preparation of medicinal preparations.
Harvesting coltsfoot leaves
The leaves of coltsfoot are harvested in June-July, choosing young developed leaf blades and observing some rules:
- coltsfoot leaves are harvested when rosette leaves at the base of the stems lose pubescence of the upper side of the leaf blade;
- leaves of coltsfoot, covered on both sides with pubescence, are not suitable for the collection of raw materials;
- the upper side of the leaf should be green, vibrant (not yellowing), smooth, without brown spots and other damage.
The leaves of the coltsfoot are plucked by hand or cut off with a secateurs, leaving the petiole 3-5 cm; the collection of leaves is carried out with the same rules as for inflorescences.
Some herbalists collect medium-developed young leaves of coltsfoot after ripening and shedding seeds:
- the collected leaves of coltsfoot are stacked in wide baskets, in a loose layer, not compacting;
- houses immediately carry out a bulkhead, separating dirty, torn, atypical, sick;
- sometimes, if necessary, you can rinse the leaves and immediately spread out for preliminary drying;
- prepared leaves are best laid out under a canopy or under a roof, be sure to have good ventilation or a draft, pubescent side up;
- leaves of coltsfoot are laid out on burlap, matting, and other suitable materials, laying them out freely in 1-2 layers;
- at home, leaves for drying can be strung on a fishing line and suspended from the ceiling;
- when dried, the leaves are constantly mixed. Dried leaves slightly curl. The leaves browned during drying are discarded.
Leaves of coltsfoot can also be dried in special dryers at a temperature of + 40 ° ... + 45 ° C. The end of drying is determined by the fragility of the petiole; properly dried leaves are odorless, bitter in taste, with a mucus sensation on the tongue.
Harvesting the roots of coltsfoot
The rhizome of coltsfoot is dug up in the fall in the last days of September, the first half of October, depending on the climatic conditions of the region.
Rhizomes are washed at home under running water and laid out on burlap or matting to drain excess water and evaporate moisture. The dried rhizomes of coltsfoot are cut into pieces no longer than 1-2 cm and laid out on a metal sheet with a thin layer.
Rhizomes are dried at a temperature of not more than + 50 ° C. They are constantly turning the chopped mass. You can dry in ovens, ovens, special dryers. The brittleness of the slices indicates the end of the drying.
Although the roots of coltsfoot, along with leaves and flowers, have medicinal properties, but at present they are less used for treatment. Some herbalists introduce them into the composition of other decoctions in the treatment of colds.
Methods and shelf life of medicinal raw materials
To store raw coltsfoot I use different containers:
- linen crib or small bags of burlap or linen;
- glass containers with a rubbing stopper that does not allow moisture to pass through;
- bags of thick but breathable paper;
- carton boxes;
Medicinal raw materials are stored in a dry, warm room. The shelf life of dry inflorescences of coltsfoot is 2 years, dry leaves - 3 years, and roots - only 1 year. If the flowers discolored, the leaves changed color, the roots became soft and somewhat rotten, if the raw material got an unpleasant odor, then it can not be used for treatment.
Benefits of Coltsfoot
A wide variety and high concentration of nutrients in the organs of coltsfoot determine its healing properties.
Coltsfoot flowers contain:
- organic compounds, including arnidiol and faradiol;
- flavonoids - compounds of natural antioxidants, insecticides and fungicides; in the body, their role is similar to vitamins; they also limit the formation of blood clots in the blood, prevent the oxidation of "bad" cholesterol;
- phytosterols - fat-like substances, affect the metabolism, contribute to the healing of the epidermis and moisture retention in tissue cells;
- glycosides - nitrogen-free compounds associated with diuretic, hormonal, wound healing, antibiotic, antiarrhythmic, antitumor, and other types of biological activity;
- bitterness - stimulate the work of the gastrointestinal tract, gall glands, the allocation of pancreatic and gastric juice, etc .;
- plant mucus - biologically active substances, have an enveloping property, soften pain and accelerate the healing process, especially inflammation of various etiologies;
- organic acids - regulate metabolic processes in the body;
- pigment yellow;
- vitamins, macro- and microelements and other compounds.
Coltsfoot leaves contain:
- plant mucus;
- essential oils;
- organic acids;
- plant sterols;
- vitamins, macro- and microelements and other compounds.
Use of coltsfoot in official pharmacology
By their medicinal properties, coltsfoot is a unique herb. The medicinal properties of inflorescences and leaves (less often - the roots) are used according to the recommendations of doctors for the treatment of:
- respiratory organs (inflammatory processes with prolonged depressing cough);
- digestive systems (gastritis, colitis, inflammatory processes of the gastrointestinal tract);
- urinary system (inflammation of the kidneys and bladder);
- nervous and cardiovascular system - relieves overexcitation, promotes quiet sleep.
Decoctions of coltsfoot normalize pressure, relieve headache, positively affect the body with atherosclerosis. External use in the form of ointments, powders, fresh juice for wounds, purulent abscesses, frostbite, burns, inflammation of the veins. Used in cosmetology to strengthen and grow hair, cleanse the skin, and other hygiene procedures.
In pharmacies you can purchase:
- dry leaves and inflorescences of coltsfoot Folium Farfarae and Flores Farfaiae;
- collections of expectorant herbs, which include coltsfoot, for example, breast collection No. 2, "bronchopulmonary";
- extracts and alcohol tinctures;
- herbal teas;
- phytobalm from pain in muscles and joints (a mixture of 5 herbs);
- nourishing night cream (cosmetic skin care);
- gel cream for intimate hygiene and other drugs.
We remind you! Before purchasing drugs for treatment, especially children, be sure to consult a doctor.
The use of coltsfoot in traditional medicine
Use coltsfoot in the form of decoctions:
- For 250 g of water, take 1 tablespoon without top of dry grass or a mixture of herbs.
- The grass is added to boiling water and immediately close the container with a lid and removed from the stove.
- The broth is infused for 15-30 minutes and is taken 2-3 times a day for 50-60 g in the same period of time 0.5 hours before meals.
Decoctions are prepared in several ways. The method proposed above is the most common.
Use coltsfoot in the form of herbal teas from leaves and flowersas well as mixed with other herbs.
- Dry raw materials are poured into the teapot (1-2 tablespoons per 250 g of water) and brewed with boiling water like regular tea.
Also used for treatment water and alcohol tinctures.
To prepare the alcohol tincture of coltsfoot, pour 25 g of finely ground raw coltsfoot with 100 grams of medical alcohol. Insist in a moderately warm place for 8-10 days, occasionally shaking. Filter and pour into a tightly closed bottle. Use as needed. An aqueous infusion of coltsfoot is prepared in the same proportions, but insist only 6-8 hours and immediately use, since it is not stored.
In folk medicine, coltsfoot is often used in the form of fresh juice:
- Freshly washed fresh sheets are scrolled in a meat grinder (preferably not metal);
- Juice is squeezed through a double layer of gauze.
- Use immediately.
- During storage, add 20-40% alcohol or vodka.
To prepare chopped gruel from fresh leaves of coltsfoot, you should tear fresh washed leaves with your hands into small pieces and crush them in a clay mortar. Do not use metal utensils. The resulting slurry is applied through rare gauze to the wound.
On the basis of coltsfoot they make and homemade ointments:
Homemade ointments are prepared on melted pork lard, unsalted cow oil or yellow petroleum jelly, which are the basis. For 4 parts of the base, take 1 part of the coltsfoot powder, mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Dry powder is finely ground to prepare the powder. Instead of the powder, you can use fresh juice, broth, tincture or extract (half boiled broth). The use of the liquid component of the ointment requires extensive thorough mixing, so it is more convenient to use the powder.
Coltsfoot is a traditional remedy for cough, as well as for sputum mucosa. Tea from it can facilitate coughing, make viscous bronchial mucus more fluid.
Infusions and decoctions of coltsfoot can be used for atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, to lower blood pressure, for mastitis in a nursing mother.
Fresh juice of coltsfoot is used for instillation into the nose with a runny nose, and the itchy place from an insect bite is rubbed. Fresh juice lubricates scrofula, ulcers, skin lesions. Used for rinsing the mouth of inflammatory processes, with tonsillitis, laryngitis and other inflammatory processes.
In the absence of coltsfoot juice, inflammatory processes in the oral cavity can be removed, toothache can also be a decoction of the leaves.
Infusions and compresses from coltsfoot leaves are used for wounds, abrasions, and shallow cuts. A compress of steamed leaves is used for erysipelas, treatment of boils, shingles, varicose veins, dermatitis and infectious skin lesions.
Coltsfoot ointments are used for all types of skin lesions. An ointment applied to gauze is applied to the damaged area, bandaged, changed 1-2 times a day until healing.
Contraindications and rules for the use of coltsfoot
Despite the absence of side effects, it is necessary to take all types of prepared medicinal preparations of coltsfoot no more than 2-6 weeks, due to the presence of alkaloids in the plant, the toxicity of which is currently poorly studied.
The dose of coltsfoot per day should not exceed 2-3 large spoons per dose (40-50 g) 2-3 times a day, unless otherwise prescribed (drops of alcohol, water, rinse).
Do not get carried away by prolonged independent treatment. Be sure to consult your doctor.
Do not use solutions of coltsfoot for oral administration to children under 2 years old. You can add them to the bath when swimming or lubricate diaper rash.
Children over 2 years old should use home and pharmacy drugs only on the recommendation of doctors
Coltsfoot can cause an allergic reaction. With allergies, external use of drugs is possible. Be careful!
Do not use liquid preparations of coltsfoot for pregnant and breastfeeding women to treat internal diseases.
In severe diseases of the liver, pancreas, and kidneys, the use of coltsfoot for the treatment of drugs is not recommended.