C is for Coltsfoot is also known as coughwort and has long been used medicinally. It was used as a cure for coughs and lung complaints as long ago as ancient Greece when Pline and Dioscorides recommended this herb. Coltsfoot is a native of Europe; the image of a coltfoot leaf on a door in France indicated that the resident was a druggist.
The dandelion-like flowers appear in the very early spring. The large leaves appear when the flowers fade and can be gathered in June and July and dried. A decoction can be made by steeping one ounce of dried leaves in 1 quart of water that is then boiled down to 1 pint. It was often sweetened a bit with honey, which also has some medicinal effect. The leaves can also be made into a medicinal cigarete and smoked. The active agent in coltsfoot is muscilage.
Here at the End of the Road, coltsfoot grows along the roadside, often blooming during Mud Season. A coule of years ago I moved a couple of plants up to the backside of my new in-process Rose Bank. That may have been a mistake. It is a great spreader. It likes the sun, but doesn’t seem to have any other requirements. In England it is considered a weed. My roadside is quite damp, at least in early spring, but the Rose Bank is quite dry. It spreads by runners and can be used as a groundcover.
I wrote more about coltsfoot here.
I could have written C is for Compost, but surely most gardeners know about compost piles. I have also had some adventures with vermicompost – worm farming and wrote about that here. To see what else begins with C click here.
This Post Has 6 Comments
Coltsfoot….. fascinating. A thoroughly enjoyable read and quite educational. Thank you for this post.
And thank you as well for you remark on my A to Z post about “Anticipation”. It must be nice to have a thoughtful spouse. Cheers.
I’m not a very proficient gardener so I would have thought these were dandelions. Very interesting that they have medicinal qualities, although I’m learning that many plants do.
Tales of a Pee Dee Mama
Michael – My thoughtful spouse makes me a very lucky woman.
TaMara – Coltsfoot was a mystery to me at first. And you are right. Many plants have medicinal properties. Lucky for people born before antibiotics.
I’d have thought they were dandelions too! I’ve had a cough for a couple of weeks so I’ll have to look out for some.
Mama J – Coltsfoot blooms amazingly early and often along the roadside.
I love learning about plants with medicinal uses. I’ve never tried them, but I think the subject is very interesting! 🙂