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Elecampane
shopping: one organic variety
Inula helenium

elecampane

plant overview
elecampane for teas, tinctures, tonics & more

Elecampane, frequently called wild sunflower, is a member of the aster family that is native to Europe and Asia and naturalized in North America. The plant has a long history of use in England, where it was commonly grown in formal gardens. Before the root of the herb was in use, the flowers and stems were candied. Today, the herb is largely harvested for its roots, which are used to make teas, tinctures, tonics and syrups.

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Elecampane
01.
A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on elecampane

description
Elecampane, a member of the Asteraceae family, is a rather rigid herb, the stem of which attains a height of from 90 cm to 150 cm (3 to 5 feet); the leaves are large and toothed, the lower ones stalked, the rest embracing the stem; the flowers are yellow, 5 cm (2 inches) broad, and have many rays, each three-notched at the extremity. The root is thick, branching and mucilaginous, and has a warm, bitter taste and a camphor-like odor with sweet floral undertones.

common names & nomenclature
The species name helenium may be named after Helen of Troy, as it is thought that she held a sprig of this plant in her hand as she left Sparta. Other stories say that the plant grew where her tears fell.

Also known as:
horse-heal, horse-elder, marchalan, velvet dock, yellow starwort, scabwort, wild sunflower, alant, elfdock, elfwort


02.
Where in the World
habitat and range for elecampane

Elecampane is native to southern Europe and temperate Asia and introduced to China and the U.S. It is common in many parts of Great Britain, and ranges throughout central and Southern Europe and in Asia as far eastwards as the Himalayas. It is naturalized in North America.

03.
Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting elecampane

climate
Elecampane grows in fields, meadows, woodland edges, waysides, waste places, and copses, often in shade.

soil
It grows well in ordinary garden soil, though it grows best in a good loamy soil.

growing
Sow seeds in spring, either in a cold frame or directly into the garden soil outside. Root divisions can be made in spring or fall as long as each piece contains a growth bud, grow in the greenhouse and then plant outside in

harvesting
Roots are best harvested in the autumn from plants that are two to three years old, and it can be cut into small pieces and dried for later use. When first dug up, the roots smell like ripe bananas, but as they dry they take on the scent of violets.

preserving
Store dried root pieces in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

04.
The Rest of the Story
elecampane history, folklore, literature and more

elecampane – a good addition to your regimen
In India, elecampane is an herb that’s been used for thousands of years. It was considered a tonic herb that was generally thought to improve your health. However, it does have some specific uses such as relieving indigestion and breaking up mucous in the body.

While it’s not used as much in Western herbal medicine as in India, elecampane is an important part of an herbalist toolbox. It was once used mainly as an expectorant and a diuretic that helped to thin mucous and relieve the body of excess water. However, it’s not usually used for that purpose anymore.

Now it can be used to help treat lung infections such as bronchitis and pleurisy. It’s also used for other respiratory ailments such as asthma, hay fever, and coughs. It’s typically added to compound medications and used in conjunction with other herbs. It’s a perfect compliment to herbs that are also used for treating respiratory ailments.

Elecampane is also used in Chinese medicine. However, in Chinese medicine it’s used to treat cancers. It can also be used on the skin to heal minor irritations. In the case of facial neuralgia and sciatica, elecampane can also bring relief.

For the digestive system, elecampane can help to keep your intestines running smoothly. It’s thought that elecampane helps to keep good bacteria healthy and growing in the intestine. This promotes regularity and helps to keep your digestion flowing properly. In fact, elecampane is so soothing to the digestive system that one study found it helped to reduce nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Elecampane grows in the Eastern region of the world in China and Europe. But you don’t have to fly across the world in order to use it. Elecampane can be purchased in powder form. It can also be found in compound medicines in the form of lozenges, syrup, and capsules.

One word to the wise, make sure to do your research before using elecampane. Too much can cause a toxic reaction that irritates the skin and the mucous membranes of the body. However, if taken as directed you can avoid these problems.

The next time you’re suffering from a cold or allergies, reach for an herbal medication containing elecampane. It can help to soothe your symptoms and help you to feel better. It can also help you with indigestion and irregularity. Elecampane is a great addition to your cupboard.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
you should always consult with your doctor
before making any changes to your diet!!
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