This plant grows wild upon the banks of streams, rivers, and wet places in the Middle and Northern United States.
The LEAVES are most frequently employed, and they should be gathered after their full expansion. The FLOWERS have an agreeable odor which they retain if carefully dried. The dried ROOT and leaves are inodorous. When dried, all parts have a rough, bitter, mucilaginous, slightly astringent taste. Boiling water or diluted alcohol extracts all their medicinal virtues.
Coltsfoot is also called coughwort, and is considered a very valuable HERB of use particularly in chronic coughs, colds, consumption, hoarseness, asthma, bronchitis, and whooping cough. It can be safely and effectively employed in all manner of lung troubles. It increases expectoration, tones the bronchi, and is valuable in debilitated pulmonary troubles. Coltsfoot is very soothing to the mucous membrane.
An infusion of coltsfoot, marshmallow, ground ivy and black horehound in equal parts will prove a reliable cough remedy.
A simple preparation for coughs and colds is made as follows: Boil 2 oz. leaves in 3/2 pts. water 15 min. Strain and sweeten with 2 oz. honey. Take a wine-glassful 4 to 6 times daily. Children in proportion.
Poultices are made of the fresh leaves or the expressed juice may be applied externally, especially on scrofulous sores.
The leaves were smoked by the ancients in pulmonary com- plaints, and we are informed that even at the present time coltsfoot is substituted for tobacco in Europe.
An herbal tobacco is made by blending 2 parts coltsfoot leaves with 1 part each eyebright, rosemary, thyme, and lavender. This can be used very effectively as a smoking tobacco in asthma.
Coltsfoot may be used either in infusion, decoction, powder, pills, or fluid extract. The usual form is that of a decoction; 1 oz. of the leaves or plant in 2 pts. water boiled down to 1 pt. of which 1 teacupful sweetened may be taken several times daily.
For a simple infusion, steep 1 t. leaves into 1 C. boiling water for 1/2 hr. Take 1 C. 3 times daily.