HERB - Coltsfoot

Christine A Seelye-King mermayde at juno.com
Thu Jan 21 08:47:24 PST 1999

>I believe 'Tussilinge' is colt's foot (_Tussilago farfara_).  The 
>leaves are smoked to treat coughs and asthma.  
>Warning: Contains traces of liver-affecting pyrrolizidine alkaloids; 
>potentially toxic in large doses.
> Although I have my share of respiratory problems, I have not yet >been
able to convince myself that intentionally inhaling smoke of any >kind
would be a helpful thing to do.   The early spring flowers, which >bloom
before the leaves appear, look a lot like dandelions with shaggy >stems.

	Well, if I had bothered to look this up before I sent the
question, I would have known this much earlier.  Of course it's
coltsfoot, an herb I have used on and off for 20+ years.  It is very
soothing as a smoke for irritated lungs, and works very well as an
expectorant for bronchial problems.  It can also be used as a tea for
those not wishing to burn it.  If you are hesitant to put it in a pipe
and inhale it directly, you might try burning some in a metal dish
(perhaps over a charcoal briquette, as for resins) and simply being in
the room with it, to inhale the smoke more indirectly.  
	I never realized it was an old world plant.  It was introduced to
me (during a particularily bad case of bronchitis that wasn't responding
to antibiotic treatment) as an American Indian cure, along with Mullein. 
One or the other of them has been refered to as 'Rabbit Tobacco' from the
Appalachains for a long time.  
	I am interested in the reference that the Romans smoked it, and
would like to track that one down.
	Mistress Christianna MacGrain

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