COLTSFOOT (Tussilago farfara)
Common names: Horsehoof, Coughwort, Bull's Foot and Foalswort.
When our meadows and hills show no sign of spring and the eye just barely notices the swelling of the willow-catkins, the Coltsfoot is the first to appear, sending forth its stalk with the yellow flower.
Wet ground, embankments, wasteland and gravel-pits are covered with blankets of Coltsfoot flowers, which appear long before the leaves. Coltsfoot grows especially well on clay soil. Bees and insects visit it to get their first nectar. These are the first flowers that can be gathered to lay in stock for the coming winter.
With its pectoral and anti-inflammatory qualities Coltsfoot is used successfully for bronchitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis, bronchial asthma and pleurisy, even at the onset of tuberculosis of the lungs. For a persistent cough and for annoying hoarseness Coltsfoot tea with honey should be drunk very hot frequently during the day.
Later in May, when the leaves appear green on the upper surface and silvery felted beneath, they are used, because rich in vitamin C, as an addition to soups and salads.
Since the leaves have more medicinal power than the flowers, they are gathered to be used together with the flowers for infusions.