Coltsfoot is an invasive, perennial plant growing up to 30 cm tall. Golden flowers that look similar to dandelions appear and die before leaves are produced, leading to the name Filius ante patrem (the son before the father). The seeds of the plant are soft, hair-like tufts often used by birds to build nests, and the leaves are broad and hoof-shaped, with hairs on upper and lower surfaces. The leaves and flowering buds are mainly used for medicinal purposes. Although related to Petasites (butterbur), activities of coltsfoot should be regarded separately.
Coltsfoot has been widely used for multiple indications, including the treatment of bronchitis, lung cancer, emphysema, inflammation, rheumatism, swelling and water retention, and tuberculosis. It was used in Chinese and Russian traditional medicine for centuries for coughs.