Perennial plant. Blossoms in April
Common in Eurasia and the North Africa, and also in the North America. Prefers clay soils, often found in fields.
Acids: Caffeic acid, caffeoyltartaric acid, ferulic acid, gallic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, and tannic acid (phenolic); malic acid and tartaric acid (aliphatic).
Alkaloids: Pyrrolizidine-type. Senkirkine 0.015% and senecionine (minor) (unsaturated) and tussilagine (saturated).
Carbohydrates Mucilage (water-soluble polysaccharides) 7–8% yielding various sugars following hydrolysis (e.g. arabinose,fructose, galactose, glucose, uronic acid and xylose); inulin (polysaccharide).
Flavonoids: Flavonols (e.g. kaempferol, quercetin) and their glycosides.
Tannins: Up to 17% (type unspecified).
Other constituents: Bitter (glycoside), choline, paraffin (fatty acid), phytosterols (sitosterol, stigmasterol, taraxasterol), triterpene (amyrin), tussilagone (sesquiterpene) and volatile oil
Traditional Use and Activity
Herb is known for expectorant, antitussive, demulcent and anticatarrhal properties. It has been used for asthma, bronchitis, laryngitis and pertussis. Antibacterial activity has been documented for Tusillago against various Gram-negative bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, Proteus hauseri, Bordetella pertussis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Proteus vulgaris.Tussilagine has been reported to be a potent cardiovascular and respiratory stimulant.
The plant is traditionally used primarily because of its mucilage content. However, it also contains toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids albeit at a low concentration. The risk of exposure to low concentrations of unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids is unclear although hepatotoxicity following prolonged exposure has been documented. The regular or excessive consumption of Tusillago, especially in the form of herbal teas, should be avoided.