The Magic In Coltsfoot Tea
Tussilago Farfara. I was asked about the pros and cons of coltsfoot the other day. It has been used for centuries as a relaxing expectorant and anti-spasmodic. It is also an anti-catarrhal. It is used for the treatment of chronic or acute bronchitis, whooping cough and asthma. With its soothing expectorant action it can be used in most respiratory disorders, including the chronic stages of emphysema. It is best used with an anti-microbial (garlic or Echinacea) where chest infection is involved.
Unfortunately, it is also among the new herbal outcasts. Any pre-existing medical condition may make you more susceptible to the side effects of certain herbs. Or you may have a reaction to them while doing certain pharmaceuticals. Always get a diagnosis from your medical physician and ask your herbalist if there are any contradictory effects with prescribed medicines and herbals you may be taking.
The culprit in coltsfoot that has made it an outcast has been identified as pyrrolizidine alkaloids. This was discovered when animals were fed large amounts of “Pure pyrrolizidine alkaloids” that had been chemically extracted from coltsfoot. These animals experienced liver toxicity. What was not mentioned was that the animals could have NEVER naturally eaten that much whole herb. Not to mention losing the synergy of the plant by using only ONE of its natural components.
The study did conclude if you boiled your coltsfoot tea for twenty minutes, no pyrrolizidine alkaloids were present. Unfortunately, you would lose much of the medicinal action if you “boiled” your herbal tea.
I think it unfair to chemically extract one negative component; make it hundreds of times more potent than found in nature, then judge the herb itself by these man-made findings.
That’s a wrap for this week. Any questions, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep it simple, keep an open mind and do a little research when an herb has been classified as a toxic agent.