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Tussilago means "cough-wort."
The name of the genus, Petasites, is derived from petasos, the Greek word for the felt hats worn by shepherds, and familiar to us in representations of Mercury, in reference to the large size of the leaves, which could be used as a head-covering. No other vegetation can live where these leaves grow, for they exclude light and air from all beneath, and where the plant abounds, it has been described as 'the most pernicious of all the weeds which this country produces.'
The name Butterbur is supposed to have been given it because formerly these large leaves were used to wrap butter in during hot weather. 'Lagwort' is an old name we sometimes find for it, in reference to the leaves delaying their appearance till after the flowers have faded, though once the leaf-shoots make a start, they grow with almost tropical luxuriance.
Petasites officinalis. Petasites vulgaris. Bitter-burr.
French: Herbe aux tcigenux; German: Pestilenwurx
Tincture of the whole plant.
Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Asteridae / Synandrae; Asterales; Compositae / Asteraceae - Composites / Daisy or Sunflower Family
Plantea - Angiospermae - Eudicots - Astrids - Eurastrids2 - Asterales - Asteraceae - Asteroideae - Senecioneae -
In 1847 it was the object of a fragmented Homeopathic proving by Kuchenmeister and in 1960 of a pharmacological study by Karl Haas.
Description of the substance
Petasites hybridus (butterbur) is a shrub found throughout Europe as well as parts of Asia and North America. Petasites that has been used medicinally for centuries to treat cough, asthma, and skin wounds. The plant can grow to a height of three feet and is usually found in wet, marshy ground, in damp forests, and adjacent to rivers or streams.
Large perennial herb: Leaves large 1.05 to 1.20 m across, radical; peduncle with 2 or 3 linear bracts flower heads in a fartigiate thyrse.
Habitat: In low wet grounds and near riversides in Great Britain.
Flowering Time: March before the leaves appear in April.
Description: The rhizome occurs in pieces 2 - 4 in. long, and about 1/4 in. in diameter, of a reddish - brown or purplish - brown colour, furrowed longitudinally, ringed with transverse scars at intervals of about 1/2 in. The transverse section shows a thin, dark, horny bark, containing dark oil cells and a narrow ring of woody tissue surrounding a large, hard pith. Fracture short. The leaves are sometimes 3 ft broad. Taste, bitterish; odour, none.