Report on Coltsfoot Side Effects and Usage


Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Contraindications: Pregnancy. Coltsfoot contains gamma-linolenic acid, which increases production of prostaglandin E, a compound that can stimulate premature labor.

Warning 2 – Antidysrhythmics: Coltsfoot may antagonize antidysrhythmics.

Warning 3 – Antihypertensives: Coltsfoot may antagonize antihypertensives.

Warning 4 – Contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids: Coltsfoot contains lycopsamine, amabiline, and thesinine. These alkaloids potentially hepatoxic are carcinogenic.

Warning 5 – Contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids: Coltsfoot contains lycopsamine, amabiline, and thesinine. Used excessively these alkaloids are hepatoxic and may inflame or damage the liver.

Note: You can avoid the above complications by using Coltsfoot that is labeled “PA-free.”

Warning 6 – Blood thinners: Coltsfoot has blood thinning effects and may increase the risk of bleeding if used with medications such as coumadin (Warfarin) or plavix (Clopidogrel).

Used as a natural health remedy 1: Coltsfoot is commonly used internally as an antitussive to suppress or relieve coughing.

Used as a natural health remedy 2: Coltsfoot is commonly used externally as a demulcent to soothe inflamed or injured skin.

Used as a natural health remedy 3: Coltsfoot may have anticancer properties.

Side Effects of Coltsfoot

The known side effects of taking Coltsfoot internally are rare but include the following:

  1. Nausea
  2. Bloating
  3. Liver damage (with excessive use)
  4. Headaches

Other side effects may also occur when using Coltsfoot internally. (See form below)

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

Return to the Herb List.

For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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