Coltsfoot Uses; Salt Substitutes
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Paul
Posted on: January 28, 2002

I am in the process of filling out my order form for coltsfoot seeds. I was wondering what are some ways coltsfoot can be used medicinally? Also, I’ve read that some people use dried coltsfoot leaves as a salt substitute. Is this ok?

Coltsfoot is excellent for respiratory ailments such as coughs, bronchitis, and asthma. For more information, there are many books that you could consult including Andrew Chevallier’s "Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants" and John Lust’s "The Herb Book" (both available from Richters). You can also check Grieve’s online classic herbal, "A Modern Herbal" which you can access from the "Richters InfoCentre" section of our website at

We have never heard of using coltsfoot as a salt substitute. For a herbal salt substitute we would prefer to use stinging nettle or other herbs. Coltsfoot contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids and there are concerns about the long term ingestion of these compounds in products used as food, especially ones that might be taken daily as a herbal salt substitute would be. Other herbs are safer to use. The book, "The Herbal Pantry" (available from Richters) has four recipes for salt substitute blends. Here is one:

Savory Blend

2 tablespoons dried dillweed

2 tablespoons dried chives

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons celery seeds

1 teaspoon grated dried lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

The ingredients are mixed thoroughly and then pulverized in a blender and sieved. The other three recipes are variations, with other herbs such as rosemary, cumin and coriander adding to the savory flavour. Try all four!

Back to Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses | Q & A Index

Copyright © 1997-2023 Otto Richter and Sons Limited. All rights reserved.