This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
COMMON NAMES. Cough Wort, Foal's Foot, Horse Hoof, and Bull's Foot.
MEDICINAL PART. The leaves.
Description. -- Colt's foot has a long, perennial, creeping, fibrous rhizome. The leaves are erect, cordate, sharply dentate, smooth green above, and pure white and cottony beneath. They do not appear until the flowers are withered, and are from five to eight inches long, and about an inch broad. The flowers are large and bright yellow.
History. -- This plant grows in Europe, the Crimea, Persia, Siberia, and the East Indies, from the seashore to elevations of nearly eight thousand feet. It also grows in the United States, in wet places, on the sides of brooks, flowering in March and April. Its presence is a certain indication of a clayey soil. The leaves are rather fragrant, and continue so after having been carefully dried. The leaves are the parts used, though all parts of the plant are active, and should always be employed, especially the leaves, flowers, and root. The leaves should be collected at about the period they have nearly reached their full size, the flowers as soon as they commence opening, and the root immediately after the maturity of the leaves. When dried, all parts have a bitter mucilaginous taste, and yield their properties to water or diluted alcohol.
Properties and Uses. -- It is emollient, demulcent, and slightly tonic. The decoction is usually administered in doses of from one to three or four fluid ounces, and is highly serviceable in coughs, asthma, whooping-cough, and other pulmonary complaints; also useful in scrofula. The powdered leaves form a good errhine for giddiness, headache, nasal obstructions, etc. It is also used externally in form of poultice in scrofulous tumors.