Botanical Name: Tussilago farfara Family: Compositae

Common name(s): Horsehoof, Coughwort


  • Perennial herb | Zones 3-7 | up to 20 inches | Long-stalked, hoof-shaped leaves appear after a large, daisy-like yellow flower has withered. The underside of the leaves and stems are covered in a cotton-like down.
  • Moist, neutral to alkaline soil | Full sun to partial shade
  • Propagate from divisions or from fresh seed (harder). Once dried, seeds fail to germinate. Vigorous spreader, can use as a ground cover or to stabilize banks.


  • Collect leaves in June and early July, roots afterwards.
  • Flower stalks can be collected in February.


Infusion: Steep 1 teaspoonful of leaves in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes. Drink 1/2 cup at bedtime, or a mouthful 3 times/day. May use up to 2 cups a day.

Tincture: 1/8 – 1/4 ounce.

Externally: bruise the leaves or steep them in hot water and apply to the chest for relieving fever. Can also be applied externally to draw out matter from wounds or to reduce swelling and skin irritation.


Constituents: Mucilage, inulin, flavonoids, rutin, hyperoside, isoquercetin, tannin

Actions: Demulcent,emmolient, expectorant, slight tonic, pectoral

Uses: Pulmonary congestion (expectorant), coughs, asthma


  • Bitter, sweet, neutral


What an interesting little plant! Some fun facts:

  • an old name for coltsfoot was Filius ante patrem (the son before the father) because the flowers come out before the leaves. 
  • birds have used the cottony down in their nests. It has also been used as a fire starter before matches were invented.