Coltsfoot Honey — A Natural Cough Syrup
Coltsfoot was the first flower I saw this year in March growing on the side of the driveway to our new house. At first, Coltsfoot blossoms look like dandelions, but unlike dandelions, the flowers come up before the leaves. I quickly looked up its medicinal uses and decided on making honey infused with Coltsfoot flowers.
The properties of the Coltsfoot flower (and leaves) (Tussilago farfara) are demulcent, expectorant, antispasmodic, and phlegm reducing so it is excellent for treating coughs and ailments of the upper respiratory system including asthma, bronchitis, or for irritating coughs. Because raw honey is also healing to the throat as well as being anti-microbial, combining the two create a delicious and soothing cough syrup that can be added to tea or taken by the spoonful.**
How to Make Coltsfoot Honey — A Natural Cough Syrup
To make the Coltsfoot Honey:
- Harvest your flowers in the early spring. Pick the whole stalk being careful not to dig up the shallow roots.
- Cut the stalk and flowers up with scissors right into the jar, put some of the flowers in, then cover with the honey.
- Mix to make sure the plant pieces are completely covered. I like to use raw honey for the added health benefits.
- Fill the jar as full as you like, alternating flowers, honey, and mixing–there are no exact measurements here. Top it off with a little extra honey.
- Keep this on your counter so you can keep an eye on it. The flowers like to float in the honey, so be sure to stir it once or twice a day for the first week. You will notice within the first day or two that the honey will get thinner and start to bubble on the top. That’s normal!
- After two weeks you can strain the honey through a fine-mesh strainer if you like or leave it longer.
- At two months, my honey with flowers still in it looks fine. I store my jars of honey on the shelf. Some people like to refrigerate them, but honey gets crystallized when it gets cold from my experience, so I don’t recommend it.
- After some time, the honey and coltsfoot will usually ferment some. It does get a boozy smell and the alcohol will actually help it to preserve it even longer and it is still effective. If you want to prevent that from happening, store it in the refrigerator.
Recommended use of Coltsfoot Honey:
Add 1/2 teaspoon to herbal tea or 1/4 teaspoon for children 7-12 years old.
Because of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the Tussilago Farfara, Coltsfoot, liver patients should not use it and for anyone, only use it for a few days. It is also not recommended for pregnant or nursing women.
Please note that I am not a medical professional. You should do your own research and consult your own clinical herbalist or trained medical professional before taking Coltsfoot, especially if you are on medications.
Coltsfoot Leaf Tea
Coltsfoot Leaves and Tea
For a prolonged cough, you would do better to use the leaves of the plant to make a tea. The leaves of the Coltsfoot plant contain fewer pyrrolizidine alkaloids and the large leaves, the least of all. The plant continues to produce leaves all summer long and doesn’t die back until the first frost comes, so let the plants grow and harvest the leaves throughout the summer to make tea in the winter.
To make Coltsfoot Leaf Tea put 2 teaspoons of dried Coltsfoot Leaf in a tea ball and pour 8 oz. hot water over it. Steep for 15-20 minutes and then drink with honey.
Coltsfoot is especially good to relieve dry persistent coughs or and to break up thick, sticky mucous.
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