Herb-Drug Interactions: Coltsfoot

Tussilago farfara L. (Asteraceae)

Synonym(s) and related species

Coughwort, Farfara, Foal’s foot.


The leaves and flowers of coltsfoot contain mucilage composed of polysaccharides, which include arabinose, fructose, galactose, glucose and xylose, and the carbohydrate inulin. Flavonoids (such as rutin, isoquercetin and hyperoside), polyphenolic acids, triterpenes and sterols are present, and sesquiterpenes including bisabolene derivatives and tussilagone may also be found. All parts of the plant may contain the pyrrolizidine alkaloids isotussilagine, senecionine, senkirkine and tussilagine in variable amounts. These are toxic but chemically very labile, and may be absent from some extracts.

Use and indications

Coltsfoot is traditionally used in cough and cold preparations as a demulcent and expectorant, and it is used in the treatment of asthma. Extracts have anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic activity and tussilagone alone has been found to be a cardiovascular and respiratory stimulant. The concentration of the most toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid, senkirkine, is thought to be too low to cause toxicity if used infrequently, and tussilagine is unsaturated and therefore less toxic. However, care should be taken with prolonged use.


No relevant pharmacokinetic data found.

Interactions overview

No interactions with coltsfoot found.