Coltsfoot-Flowers and Flower Stems

The first flowers of spring locally have arrived, our Coltsfoot is up and in full flower, the flowers rise out of the ground on them stems coming many weeks before the leaves will show themselves.

I picked a full cup of tightly budded flowers to make a lovely homemade cough syrup to help with my cold, I washed the flowers with luke warm water, giving them a good rince and then packed a full cup of them into a liter glass jar, and filled it with 2 cups of fresh boiling water, and let it steep for 20 min (if you are using dried flowers from a health store, I would let it steep 4 to 8 hours) but as I am using fresh, I don’t feel the need to let it steep that long.

I drained my Coltsfoot flower tea though a strainer layered with cheese cloth, and into a steel pot and at a VERY low simmer, I reduced it by half from two cups to one cup.

Measure your liquid and match it with raw local unpasturized honey into a pot and bring to a boil, and then pour into a clean hot glass canning jar, let cool till room temp and then store in the fridge,  I personally don’t use more then six tsp per day and only use for limited time.

If I wanted to make this to keep for later use in the year, I would also add 1/4 cup of high quality vodka to help in the preservation. If you want to make this into cough drops, you must used the sugar instead of the honey to do so, follow any basic Candy recipe using the reduced tea as the base liquid.

I personally find the taste to be very reasonable, its got a flowery hint to it, with a slight bitter.

This plant has mixed reviews, some folks don’t think it should be used at all but on the other hand it has a history of medical use in China for 2000 years and now has many recent studies in that country backing that its very good for helping in regards to colds and sore throat.

So, I am not going to recommend it as safe, but instead use with care and do your own reading and decide for yourself on if you are comfortable with using small amounts or not! Please do not eat raw! I only use it when cooked and only in small amounts.

Do any of you use Coltsfoot? and if so, how do you use it?

This entry was posted in Herbs, Personal Care, wild foods and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Coltsfoot-Flowers and Flower Stems

  1. Deb W says:

    As it says in your link, most of the alkaloids are destroyed with heating (similar effect as with Stinging Nettle?), but I did a little research and learned that in some places stems are used instead of flowers as they’re much less potent, so I simmered 2 oz. of stem in 2 l of water for about 1/2-3/4 of an hour, then left it to steep overnight and ended up with about 1 l of beautiful sea-green concentrate to use for skin or bronchial issues. May even freeze some up in ice cube trays to keep for later. Never done this before, so it should be interesting to see how it works…

    • While I felt the need to be very clear that there are warnings about this plant, I do personally use it and find it very good at helping get rid of bronchial coughs. Let me know how you find it works for you, given how often this is turning up in my search for this page, I would say that alot of folks are looking to use this plant for themselves.

  2. Teresa says:

    My yard is coltsfoot. I had never seen or heard of it until moving to Nova Scotia and now I see it everywhere (not in a good way). It is completely taking over our yard. I am intrigued that it can be used medicinally…will have to do a little research there. I have just started using Stinging Nettle and find that it makes a very nice Iced Tea. I would prefer to not have this covering the bulk of my yard though…any ideas on how I can rid of the majority of it??

    • Coltsfoot can be used in limited amounts, where you could have nettle tea or use it daily and just be all the healthier for it, I would not recommend that for the coltsfoot, how to get rid of it, well my sheep and goats love to it, so they would get rid of it.. otherwise, depending on the size of the yard, the best choices I can give for natural ways is a)dig it out in a sqaure foot amounts, clean the soil, and plant in hardy spreaders, like mint, strawberries, etc they will be able to push into the coltsfoot area’s and out-grow it. The only other natural way I know is to cover it in sections with sheet metal or straw or cardboard and do a thin(just to kill it) layer mulch and then re-sead the top of the layer bed with herbs or wild flower mix or a natural grass mix etc..

      Hope that helps, it will certainly take some planning and hands on work to change a yard over, the other thing I would consider as a possablity, check the soil ph and see if its mainly XX and then consider doing what you need to to change it to the other way, clearly the coltsfoot likes it the way it is, so if you can flip the ph, you might find that helps greatly..

  3. Pingback: Spring really is just around the corner.. | Just another Day on the Farm

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