The Colt’s-foot is a perennial plant 10-25 cm tall, with a thick, creeping, branched root, which is covered with scales on the surface. From the rhizome, fine roots wind in all directions. Colt’s-foot blooms in early spring, in March-April, before the leaves appear on the plant. Pedicels one or more. Stems erect, unbranched, densely covered with scaly leaves, dark red in color, which are covered with hairs. There is only one inflorescence on each stem.
Root leaves only appear when the plant has flowered. Stiff leaves on long petioles, rounded heart-shaped, serrated edges, with visible reinforcement. New leaves are covered with a velvety coating on both sides. The leaves fully mature in late May or early June.
Inflorescence yellow. Fruits-seeds ripen in May-June.
For medicinal purposes, the leaves of the Colt’s-foot are used. The leaves are collected in the first half of summer, 2-3 weeks after the plant has flowered. The leaves are picked by hand or cut with half of the stem. Never collect damaged or twisted leaves. The collected leaves are dried in the attic, in the fresh air (in a shady place) or in forced dryers, not exceeding a temperature of 50-60C.
Colt’s-foot leaves contain mucilage, saponins, inulin, bitter glycoside tusilagin, tannins, ascorbic acid, carotonoids (up to 5%), gallic acid, malic and tartaric acid, sitosterol, dextyrin, essential oil and flavonoids.
The leaves of a plant that grows in the sun are many times stronger than those that grow in the shade - but a plant of great power is not always necessary, especially if we use it in the treatment of children.
Basically, the entire pharmacological effect of sedum is justified by the effect of beneficial herbal (galenic) preparations on inflammatory processes in the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and throat.
A decoction of the leaves of Colt’s-foot promotes expectoration. The leaves have a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect, they prevent the development of bacteria.
Thanks to the mucilaginous substances in the leaves, the gorse has a covering effect on the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat and throat, thus protecting them from irritation. Nevertheless, mucilage substances, saponins and organic acids soften and liquefy dry sputum in the upper respiratory tract, restoring the natural ciliated epithelium function in the trachea and bronchi. Promotes faster evacuation of inflammatory particles from the respiratory tract and facilitates sputum production.
At the same time, tannins, carotenoids and sterols act against inflammation: reducing hyperemia of the mucosa, actively acting on inflammation in different phases due to the bactericidal properties of these compounds. The plant has a significant, also unexpressed antispasmodic effect, thanks to the essential oil and flavonoids.
The bitter substance (tusilagin) improves digestive processes, enhances the secretion of intestinal and gastric juice, as well as the release of enzymes and bile, improves appetite, helps digest food.
In folk medicine, as usual, the Colt’s-foot has found a much wider range of effects. Leaf decoction and extracts are drunk in case of diseases of various respiratory organs: cough, bronchitis, loss of voice! It is also used in cases of inflammation of the stomach and intestinal mucosa. It will also work on diarrhea, kidney, bladder disease and edema. The juice of the leaves of the plant is used in pulmonary tuberculosis.
Colt’s-foot leaves are used as a poultice or application in rheumatism and polyarthritis; decoctions and poultices as wet dressings, compresses and baths are used to treat furunculosis, small ulcers, infected wounds and other pathological conditions of the skin.