Risks of taking coltsfoot
Side effects of coltsfoot, horsehoof or British tobacco
Coltsfoot, horsehoof or British tobacco contains certain amounts of hepatotoxic alkaloids (pyrrolizidine alkaloids).
Coltsfoot components are toxic when long treatments (more than 2 weeks) are carried out with this plant.
- Animal experiments have shown that these components can cause liver damage leading to cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver cancer. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are also found in other plants such as comfrey and borage.
- People taking medication should consult their doctor before taking coltsfoot.
- Due to its toxicity, this plant is contraindicated for people suffering from liver diseases.
Problems during pregnancy
Coltsfoot has traditionally been used as an abortifacient plant and can cause harm to the fetus.
A case of hepatic veno-occlusive disease has been described in a newborn, caused by taking coltsfoot infusions by the mother during pregnancy.
The alkaloids of this plant are also toxic to animals. Phototoxic activity on guinea pig skin has been described.
More information on coltsfoot, horsehoof or British tobacco
1 February, 2022