Coltsfoot may help treat respiratory problems in several ways. Its soothing expectorant action gives it a role in most respiratory conditions, including the chronic stages of emphysema. It contains a substance (mucilage) that may smooth the respiratory tract.
A study using laboratory animals showed the herb increases the activity of the microscopic hairs in the breathing tubes that moves mucus out of the respiratory tract. Another experiment shows that coltsfoot suppresses a substance in the body that is involved in triggering asthma attacks, all indications of the health benefits of herbs.
Although, contemporary herbalists recommend coltsfoot for respiratory problems. Some say poultices of the fresh, bruised leaves may be applied to burns, swellings, and inflammations. Herb conservatives in this country recommend slippery elm as a safe herb to calm coughs.
The FDA list this medicinal plant as an herb of undefined safety. As with all herbal nutrition supplements, coltsfoot supplements should only be used in amounts typically recommended for medicinal purposes and you should always consult with a health professional first, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription medications.