Tussilago farfara: properties and contraindications

Tussilago farfara: properties and contraindications

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Toxilaggine or Tussilago farfara: properties, contraindications, uses and compounds related to the toxicity of the plant. The use of leaves, flowers and roots.

Therecommon toxilage, known in botany asTussilago farfara, is a perennial herbaceous plant of the Asteraceae family. It has yellow flowers and a height ranging from 10 to 30 cm. The biological form of the species is a rhizomatous geophyte (it means that it develops the buds underground and is a perennial herbaceous plant).

In the various regions of Italy, thetoxicityorTussilago farfareis known by the names:

  • Pataccio
  • Foot of donkey
  • Mule leg
  • Paparacchio
  • Farfugio
  • Farfarugine
  • Farfaro
  • Farfarella

This species also sees synonyms in botany: in the different years thetoxicitywas called:tussilago ruderalis, tussilago rupestris, tussilago vulgaris. These different names refer to the same species, known today astussilago farfara.

Tossilago farfara: where to find it

This plant grows throughout the Italian territory. It is very common in the rest of Europe, in Asia and in the northern areas of Africa and America.

Where does it grow? This herbaceous plant thrives in humid places, in undergrowth with clayey soils: it prefers heavy soil. It can be found in cultivated fields and in rural areas, near canals and waterways.

It is not loved by growers: due to its deep rhizome it is considered a weed and difficult to eradicate from the ground. After flowering, large leaves develop which tend to cover large areas of land, suffocating any surrounding vegetation.

Tussilago farfara: contraindications

Theretoxicityit is not famous for its yellow flowers but for itsproperty. The plant is collectedflowerswithout stem, even before full flowering. The buds are dried and used to prepare herbal teas and infusions. The leaves, collected in summer (always without stem), are dried and used for macerations, packs and sometimes even infusions.

Not only herbal teas, compresses and infusions: this spontaneous plant is also used in the kitchen. The young plants are collected and the more tender parts are used raw to enrich salads, or cooked to use as side dishes or fillings. In any case, a very moderate consumption of this plant is recommended, the reason? Contraindications and possible side effects. Those suffering from liver failure should completely avoid the use of this plant. The pyrrolizide alkaloids present intussilagocan cause liver cirrhosis and hepatocarcinoma, the plant also has sesquiterpene lactones which, in some people, can cause allergic reactions.

Contraindications: absolutely to be avoided during pregnancy. The notes relating to research on the toxicity of this plant.

Tussilago farfara: properties

The plant is used as a natural remedy for coughs and seasonal ailments, it is also used in the pharmacological field.

Therecoltsfootit is among the most used plants inherbal medicineto relieve cough and asthma. It has calming, expectorant properties (it has a bechic action that relieves cough and promotes the expulsion of bronchial secretions).

Other properties of coltsfoot are:

  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • decongestant properties
  • sedative properties on the bronchi
  • antineuralgia (calms inflammations of nervous origin)
  • emollient properties

The roots, less used than the flower heads and leaves, have diaphoretic properties, that is, they have the ability to facilitate skin transpiration.

This plant is rich in active substances, however not all are known and the mechanisms of action with which itcoltsfootexplains hispropertyhave not yet been discovered. It is believed that the properties of thecoltsfoot(tussilago farfara) are linked to the abundant presence of mucilage (glycoproteins and polysaccharides), as well as sterols, flavonoids, tannins and inulin. Many secondary metabolites have also been isolated such as chromones, sesquiterpenes, triterpenes, pyrrolizidine alkaloids ...

Tussilago farfara: how to use the plant

Given that: before using any preparation to treat an illness, it is important to know the opinion of your trusted doctor.

In addition to theusesdescribed above, theproperties of the tussilago farfarathey can also be exploited for topical use. For external use, this plant has no particular presence contraindications. Side effects, always for external use, only occur in the presence of allergies.

The fresh leaves, well washed and dried, crushed with a pesto and collected in sterile gauze, can be used to relieve inflammation and irritation of the skin of various kinds. At one time they were also used to promote wound healing, to relieve burns and ulcers.

Tussilago farfara: toxicity

Is this plant toxic?
As stated, it has pyrrolizidine alkaloids that appear to cause liver damage and even the appearance of cancer cells.

"Genotoxicity" tests were conducted on this plant, in particular, the toxicity of the plant was manifested by research on Drosophila melanogaster (a type of fly). It would seem that substances such as senecionins and senkirkins (present in coltsfoot) exert a mutagenic action.

Not only that, thetoxicityof the plant would also be linked to other pyrrozidine compounds: some cases have been documented in which the plant has caused severe liver problems.

For the studies conducted, even if it is not counted among the poisonous plants, thetoxicityit is undoubtedly a plant to be used with caution.

In Austria and Germany, plants without pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been selected, the variety in question is registered under the name of Tussilago farfara Wien.

Research source:
Journal of Food and Drug Analysis

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