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Coltsfoot - Herbal Wisdom Wednesday

coltsfoot eastern coltsfoot herbalism herbalwisdomwednesday herbs moonriseherbs Petasites spp. respiratory herbs tussilago farfara western coltsfoot

The rain may be a bit of downer after all the beautiful sun, but it is so nice to take a breath and smell the freshness that comes with it.  Not to mention our plant friends are just bursting with growth!  One in particular you may see by the roadsides right now is Coltsfoot!  This prolific set of herbs does so much for on to find out more!

Respiratory Soother & Strengthener

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) also called Eastern Coltsfoot and it's counterpart most often seen here on the West Coast (Petasites spp.) are two different perennial species of the Asteraceae family with similar actions that happen to have the same common name.   You may be familiar with the Petasites variety growing near many of our roadways here in Northern Humboldt County.  Both varieties love to grow in the alkaline, moist soil found in "disturbed" areas and are some of the first flowers to bloom in Spring. They make great pollinators for bees and butterflies and some species of birds use the Tussilago seed heads to line their nests.  Traditional stores tell that Highland Scots would stuff their mattresses and pillows with this fluff as well!
Coltsfoot leaves and flowers have demulcent, emollient, and expectorant properties. A tea of the leaves can be used as a remedy for lung ailments such as bronchitis, laryngitis, asthma, whooping cough, and sore throats. A traditional European tea recipe used for the conditions previously listed contains equal parts of coltsfoot, mullein, and peppermint. 
The roots of the Petasites are also used in anti-spasmodic formulas for migraines, smooth muscle spasm, vascular inflammation, etc.

Method & Dosage:
A standard infusion of the leaves is best for coughs and colds. For migraine, pain and inflammation, look for standardized extracts, tinctures and capsules of the root.

**Contraindications: Consult your health care professional before consuming Coltsfoot during pregnancy or breastfeeding or if you have liver issues due to it's alkaloid content. *

Petasites frigidus  ©Steve Matson


Herbal Formulations with Coltsfoot

Serious Cough: A WishGarden Herbs blend

Although, we are so very sad about the discontinuation of Humboldt Hack Away, we really love this blend from WishGarden as an alternative. 
It contains: Coltsfoot leaf (Tussilago farfara), Goldenseal root (Hydrastis canadensis), Grindelia herb (Grindelia robusta, G. squarrosa), Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Mullein leaf (Verbascum spp., V. thapsus, V. sinuatum), Pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa), Wild Cherry bark (Prunus serotina), Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis), Lobelia aerials (Lobelia inflata). 

Cold Care Tea: A Moonrise tea blend

Runny noses, icky coughs, sinus headaches, sore throats...these are the symptoms colds are made of. Our Cold Care Tea is just the ticket!
Ingredients: Organically grown herbs: Peppermint, Comfrey leaf, Coltsfoot, Nettles, Elder Flower, Rosehips, Orange peel, Mullein, Cinnamon & Peppermint essential oil

 DIY Recipes with Coltsfoot

In many different culinary traditions, the fresh leaves of Coltsfoot have been put into nutritious green salads.  The young leaves are delicious when sauteed with onion and garlic.  The dried leaves are also an excellent addition to an herbal smoking recipe like our Smoking Mix.

Growth Stimulating Rinse by Curly Nicky
Brew up a standard infusion of any combination of these herbs: basil, burdock, nettle, parsley, rosemary, sage, yarrow, kelp (strengthens roots), horsetail, hibiscus, fenugreek, coconut milk, lavender, birch, watercress (encourages thick growth), yucca, thyme, and coltsfoot.
After about 20 - 30 minutes, strain out herbs and allow to cool to lukewarm temperature.  Once your hair tea has cooled you can add in any combination of the following essential oils according to your preference: basil, cajute, carrot seed, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, orange, peppermint, rosemary, clary sage, thyme, ylang ylang, lemon, yarrow, lemon balm, parsley.
You can apply to hair in a couple different ways: 1) Stand in your shower and pour the rinse into your hair, making sure to coat your entire head.  Be wary of getting any in your eyes, of course!  2) Hang you head upside down with your hair in a bowl, pour your rinse over hair thoroughly.  If desired you can keep using the rinse after it falls into the bowl as desired.
For both methods, be sure to massage gently into scalp for a couple minutes to stimulate growth. Leave mixture in hair from 5 - 20 minutes.  

Coltsfoot Flowers Sorbet by Marc Veyrat
30 fresh coltsfoot flowers (tussilago farfara)
125 gr sugar
400 gr mineral water (4 dl)
a drop of lemon juice
half an egg white
Rub the flower between your thumb and forefinger to remove the green leaves at the bottom of the flower. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan and add a drop of lemon juice. Add the flowers.  Choose how long you boil it but more than a few minutes will ruin the taste. Turn off the fire and leave 20 minute to steepFilter through a fine sieve and refrigerate.Add half an egg white. As you churn the sorbet, the egg white will trap millions of tiny air bubbles and make your sorbet white as meringue. Churn until hard and enjoy!Serve with a few tussilago flowers as a decor. Marc Veyrat makes a beautiful caramelized sugar grate and sticks flowers on sugar pikes, placing a scoop of sorbet in the middle.

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