As one of the best herbs that quell a cough in homeopathic remedy, tussilago farfara or coltsfoot is also known as Kuan Dong Hua in Chinese, which, literally translated, means “winter-arrive flower.” And just as its name suggested, it is a kind of edible flower that blooms only during the winter solstice and early spring. From that you can picture how this small grass with golden yellow flowers brave the wind and snow in the coldest days of winter when all the other flowers have perished in the storm. Thanks to that cold-resistant quality, it is widely used for relieving cough and asthma since these conditions are usually considered associated with pathogenic cold and wind. The logic here may sound odd but the tussilago farfara effects have been testified by generations of TCM doctor’s experience.
What is tussilago farfara flower?
Medicinally it refers to the dried flower buds of Tussilago farfara L., which is a plant in the family Compositae. So, other names of this crude medicine include Ass’s foot, Foal’s foot, Common Coltsfoot Flower, Tash Plant, Coughwort, Bull’s foot, Flos Farfarae, Butterbur, Winter heliotrope, Horse Foot, Flos Tussilaginis Farfare, Foalswort, etc. Pretty as it is, this golden yellow flower in full bloom is not the medicinal part. Instead it is the buds that don’t break through the ground yet. As a result, it needs to dig the flower buds before or after the winter solstice. After that, place it in ventilated place, screen out the dirt after it is semi-dry, remove the stalk, and then completely air dry. Because the one produced in Lingtai Gansu province is of best quality, it is also called “Lingtai Dong Hua”. And it is used raw or fried with honey-fried. Nowadays it can be consumed in a variety of ways, such as tussilago farfara tea, flower extract, leaf extract, oil, and more.
Tussilago farfara plant is a perennial herb, normally 10 to 25cm in height. Basal leaves are in the shape of broad heart or ovate, 7 to 15cm long, 8 to 10cm wide, and with obtuse apex and serrate margins. Capitulum is acrogenous; phyllary is 1 to 2 layers and bracts are 20 to 30, thin, oval-shaped, and furry; ray florets grow in a circle, bright yellow and unisexual. Achenes are oblong, with vertical edges and yellow pappus. Flowering time is from February to March and fruit time is in April. Its habitats are river banks and the sand, cultivated or uncultivated.
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