Scientific: Inula helenium [WikiPedia]
Appearance: Elecampane is a large beautiful plant with leaves that are similar to the downy leaves of great mullein. The flowers look like small sunflowers. They are bright yellow, about 4 inches in diameter, and bloom mid to late summer. The sturdy, deeply furrowed stem rises from a basal rosette of large, ovate, pointed leaves. Elecampane reaches a height of 3-6 feet; often found growing in hedgerows. The lower stem is hairy, becoming sparsely branched and downy at the top. The root, the part that is used medicinally, is a thick cylindrical branched rhizome that is yellow on the outside but white inside. It has a warm bitter taste and a scent which is said to resemble violets in bloom.
Parts Used: Root or rhizome
Common Uses: Historically, Elecampane Inula helenium has been used to combat intestinal parasites, yeast infections and congestive heart failure. Elecampane is a reliable agent against bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema and in the treatment of bronchial coughs in children. This herb has diuretic and expectorant properties and anecdotal evidence of suggests uses as an antiseptic and digestive aid.
Elecampane constituents are inulin, mucilage, volatile oil (helenin, camphor, alantol), alantoic acid, a thymol derivative, sesquiterpene lactones (including alantolactone, isoalantolactone), triterpenoid saponins, sterols, and bitter principles (possibly including dammaradienol, stigmasterol, friedlin), resin, pectin, and possible alkaloid. Its actions are expectorant, anti-tussive, sedative, anthelmintic, diaphoretic, stomachic, antifungal, antiparasitic, relaxant, warming, tonic, alterative, diuretic and anti-bacterial.
This plant has a long history in veterinary medicine as an effective remedy for skin diseases of sheep and horses. The veterinary use of elecampane is the origin of the herb’s other names, scabwort and horseheal.
Alternatives and Adjuncts:
Topic Specific Research:
PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.