Elecampane

Inula helenium, Compositae. The rhizomes are the part of the plant used.

The rhizomes should be unearthed in the autumn. Large pieces should be cut before drying in the sun or artificially at temperature between 50-70 degrees C.

Functions of elecampane

Elecampane:

  • is used as a specific for irritating bronchial coughs, especially in children. It may be used whenever there is a copious amount of catarrh formed, such as in bronchitis or emphysema.. The herb has an expectorant that is accompanied by the stimulating effect of the essential oils. It also has an anti-bacterial effect.
  • can be used in asthma and other allergic conditions such as hay fever. It has also been used in the treatment of tuberculosis.
  • contains bitters that are useful as an aid to digestion and an appetite stimulant.
  • can be used as a wash for the treatment of rashes and eczema.
  • taken as a hot decoction can help to bring on a menstrual period.

Notes on elecampane

  • Small amounts used in cooking are generally safe but do not use internally in medicinal doses during pregnancy.
  • Elecampane combines well with coltsfoot, white horehound, pleurisy root and yarrow for respiratory conditions.

Dosages

Infusion: pour a cup of cold water onto 1 teaspoonful of the shredded root and leave to stand for 8 - 10 hours. Heat up and take very hot three times per day.

Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times per day.

For the gardener

Elecampane can be grown from seed planted in the spring or from the division of the roots in spring or autumn. For the root division use a sharp knife to slice vertically and any piece with a bud can be replanted. Space the young plants about 70 cm (30 inches) apart and make sure that allows for their height (1 meter or three feet or more) and their vigorous growth.

Cut the dead flowers and any dead leaves back to the ground in the autumn or winter.

Elecampane will tolerate most soil conditions but the roots develop the best in a humus rich, deeply dug soil. It will need adequate amounts of water in the summer months. It will grow in full sun or part shade.

References

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.

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