Phytochemical variability of coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara L.) in Poland

Coltsfoot leaves are a traditional raw material, rich in polysaccharides and phenolics. The variability of the contents of these main compounds was determined, using plant material originated from 22 natural populations of Tussilago farfara L. growing in various regions of Poland.In the years 2008–2009, plants from each investigated population were collected in the Garden of Medicinal Plants in Plewiska near Poznań (Poland). Coltsfoot leaves were harvested in the middle of June and July of 2010, and then dried at room temperature. In these raw material we quantified swelling index (describing mucilage content) and spectrophotometrically: the amounts of total polyphenols, polyphenols unadsorbed on hide powder (non-tannin phenolics) and tannins (expressed as pyrogallol equivalent) as well as the sum of hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives (expressed as rosmarinic acid) and flavonoids (expressed as quercetin).The demonstrated results show the relatively high and balanced contents of the basic active compounds, especially flavonoids (0.7–1.3%) and polysaccharides (swelling index: 8.0–14.5). In addition, it was found that flavonoids and mucilage in coltsfoot leaves fluctuate in only a small range (V=11–13%), regardless of overshadow and the harvest time of raw material.
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