Coltsfoot (Farfarae flos/-herba/-radix)

Published July 27, 1990.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)

Huflattichblüten/-kraut/-wurzel

Name of Drug

Farfarae flos, coltsfoot flower.
Farfarae herba, coltsfoot herb.
Farfarae radix, coltsfoot root.

Composition of Drug

Coltsfoot flower consists of the fresh or dried flowers of Tussilago farfara L. [Fam. Asteraceae], as well as preparations thereof.

Coltsfoot herb consists of the fresh or dried above-ground parts of T. farfara L., as well as preparations thereof.

Coltsfoot root consists of the fresh or dried underground parts of T. farfara L., as well as preparations thereof.

Uses

Preparations of coltsfoot are used for treatment and prevention of diseases and ailments of the respiratory tract, such as cough, hoarseness, bronchial catarrh, acute and chronic bronchitis, asthma, colds, influenza, inflammation and irritation of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa, sore throat, tonsillitis, rickets, swelling of the glands and tuberculosis of the lymph nodes, catarrhs of the gastrointestinal tract, diarrhea, for the stimulation of the metabolism, for "blood purification," as a diuretic and diaphoretic, and externally for wound treatment.

Coltsfoot is contained in tonics with claims of diverse indications.

The effectiveness for the claimed uses is not documented.

Risks

All plant parts of coltsfoot contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) in greatly varying amounts. Organotoxic, especially hepatotoxic, effects are known for these compounds. Animal experiments proved PA to be carcinogenic with a genotoxic mechanism of action.

Evaluation

In consideration of the risks and lack of documentation for the effectiveness of this herb for the claimed uses, a therapeutic application of coltsfoot flower, herb and root cannot be justified.