English Name: tussilago
Literal Translation: “welcome winter flower”
Pharmaceutical Name: Flos Farfarae
Medica Category: Cough- and Wheezing- Relieving Herbs
Properties: Kuan Dong Hua enters the Lung and Heart channels; it is acrid in nature and warm in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Kuan Dong Hua is the dried flower bud of the tussilago plant (aka coltsfoot– Tussilago farfara L.). It has a wide distribution around the world (often found growing in waste/disturbed areas and along roadsides) and a long tradition of medicinal use in various traditions of folk medicine. In China, Kuan Dong Hua was traditionally collected/harvested in the beginning of winter and used to address wellness concerns tied to the season’s harshness (i.e. getting sick with a cough and phlegm in the winter cold). As medicine it can be used unprocessed (i.e. simply dried and decocted) but is often stir-fried in honey to enhance its action to moisten the Lung and address dry, chronic cough (see below).
Kuan Dong Hua moistens the Lung, dissolves phlegm, and relieves cough and is most effective at addressing cough that comes from cold attacking the Lung (“winter cough”) and chronic cough with blood-streaked sputum. Combined with the proper herbs in formula, however, its range of application can be expanded to address coughs that come from upper respiratory infections (and other “hot” conditions) as well as those arising out of interior imbalances (chronic conditions).
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