Reddish Vale Country Park


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Colts Foot

Coltsfoot is a native perennial of hard bare places and shingle.

Very common throughout the British Isles.

Flowers to a height of 25cm.

The botanical name, Tussilago comes from the word, tussis ago, to drive away a cough, as it was the apothecary's best herb for the lungs.


Coltsfoot has been used in historical times to treat lung ailments such as asthma as well as various coughs by way of smoking. Crushed flowers supposedly cured skin conditions, and the plant has been consumed as a food item, however, this plant has been found to cause liver damage.

Other names for Coltsfoot include, Fafara, Coughwort, Horsehoof, English tobacco, Bullsfoot, Foalsfoot, Butterbur, Flower Velure, Hallfoot, Fieldhove, Donnhove, Son Before Father.

Smoking Coltsfoot for the relief of coughs and asthma was recommended by the Greek physician Diosorides and even today it is an ingredient of many herbal cigarettes.

The plant flowers in early spring and the leaves only appear when the flowers have died down, giving rise to one of the plant's old names, Filius ante patrem, Son Before Father.

In China, only the flowers, which are known as Kuan dong hua, are used, specifically for chronic coughs with profuse phlegm, and to force rising lung qi (energy) to descend in.

In Paris, the flowers used to be painted on the doorposts of apothecaries shops.

Coltsfoot is used as a food plant by the larvae of some butterflies and is also worked by the honey bee, Coltsfoot provides a lot of pollen for the honey bee.  

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