Tussilago farfara Linn

Family ► Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat ► Western Himalayas from Kashmir to Nepal at 1,500-3,500 m.

English ► Coughwort, Coltsfoot, Asses' Foot.

Action ► Leaves and flowers— anticatarrhal, antitussive, expectorant, antispasmodic, demulcent, anti-inflammatory. Used for dry, unproductive, irritative cough, smoker's cough, whooping cough, bronchial asthma (effect shortlived), laryngitis.

Tylophora indica (Burm. f.) Merrill.

Key application ► In acute catarrh of the respiratory tract with cough and hoarseness; acute, mild inflammation of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa. Contraindicated during pregnancy and nursing. (German Commission E.)

The leaves and flowers contain flavo-noids including rutin, hyperoside and isoquercetin; pyrrolizidine alkaloids including senkirkine and tussilagine (about 0.015%); mucilage (about 8%) consisting of polysaccharides based on glucose, galactose, fructose, arabinose and xylose; inulin, tannins.

Polysaccharides are anti-inflammatory and immuno-stimulating, as well as demulcent. Flavonoids also have anti-inflammatory and antispasmod-ic action. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids have caused hepatotoxicity in rats fed daily on high doses, but not on daily low dose regimes. These are largely destroyed when the herb is boiled.

The leaf contains an inhibitor of platelet activating factor (PAF). The PAF inhibitor can account for Coltsfoot's efficacy in asthma. The constituent, tussilagone has respiratory stimulant and cardiovascular (including pressor) activities. In animal studies, Coltsfoot is reported to have a pres-soreffect similartodopaminebut without tachyphylasis. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)

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