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Image of Coltsfoot
This image of Coltsfoot comes from the first edition of De historia stirpium commentarii insignes, a book produced by Leonhart Fuchs in 1542. One of the most celebrated herbals of the sixteenth century, Fuchs’s book has more than 500 woodcut illustrations, each hand colored. This book is available in the John R. Martin Rare Book Room in Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

Tussilago farfara is native to western Europe, northern Asia, and North Africa (Hegi, 1912). One of the first herbs to be described in the literature of traditional medicine, Coltsfoot is used mainly in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema as a cough suppressant (Jaric et al., 2018). In Russia and China, it is used to treat diarrhea, skin diseases, wounds, and blemishes. In Turkey, it is used to treat burns, and in Ukraine and Poland, to treat ulcers (Koçyiǧit & Özhatay, 2006; Kujawska, Łuczaj, & Typek, 2015; Vereschagin, Sobolevskaya, & Yakubova, 1959). Additional research on the usage of this species for wound healing might prove helpful (Jaric et al., 2018).  

Historical Use

John Gerard’s The Herball, first published in 1597, , provides information on the use of Coltsfoot. Its leaves were used to treat ulcers and inflammations, a “deconcoction” of leaves and roots to treat coughs, and the fumes of dried leaves to treat shortness of breath. 

Excerpt from De historia stirpium commentarii insignes, a book produced by Leonhart Fuchs in 1542.

Latest Research


Hegi, G. (1912). Illustrierte flora von Mitteleuropa: Mit besonderer berücksichtigung von Deutschland, Oesterreich und der Schweiz. Zum gebrauche in den schulen und zum selbstunterricht (Vol. 6, part 2): Munich: JF Lehmanns, 1907-1931. 

Jaric, S., Kostic, O., Mataruga, Z., Pavlovic, D., Pavlovic, M., Mitrovic, M., & Pavlovic, P. (2018). Traditional wound-healing plants used in the Balkan region (Southeast Europe). Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 211, 311-328. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2017.09.018 

Koçyiǧit, M., & Özhatay, N. (2006). Wild plants used as medicinal purpose in Yalova (Northwest Turkey). Turkish Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 3(2), 91-103. Retrieved from 

Kujawska, M., Łuczaj, Ł., & Typek, J. (2015). Fischer’s lexicon of Slavic beliefs and customs: a previously unknown contribution to the ethnobotany of Ukraine and Poland. Journal of ethnobiology and ethnomedicine, 11(1), 85.  

Vereschagin, V., Sobolevskaya, K., & Yakubova, A. (1959). Useful Plants of West Siberia. Publishing of Academy of Science of USSR, Moscow-Leningrad.  

Other Resources

Natural Medicines record:,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=730 (Access to UI only)