Latin name: Inula helenium
Other names: Elfdock, Horse-Elder,
Horseheal, Scabwort, Velvet Dock,
A Remedy For
Elecampane is sometimes prescribed
for bronchitis and cough, but
because it can be severely
irritating and allergenic, its use is not recommended.
The herb has a variety of other uses
in folk medicine, although none has
been scientifically validated. It is
taken as a remedy for upset stomach,
gas, gallbladder problems, water
retention, and menstrual complaints. In
Asian medicine it's also used for
diarrhea, vomiting, and intestinal
inflammation, and homeopathic
practitioners recommend it for bronchial conditions.
What It Is; Why It Works
Elecampane has been known since the
days of the Roman poet Horace.
A perennial shrub some 21/2 to 6
feet high, it is native to the temperate regions of Europe and Asia, and can
now be found in China and the United
States as well. Its Latin name
"Inula helenium" echoes the many legends that associate the plant with Helen
of Troy. (Your choice: It either sprang
from her tears, or she was holding a
branch of it when Paris stole her
The active ingredients in Elecampane
have shown an ability to reduce
inflammation, kill bacteria and
fungus, and loosen phlegm in the lungs.
The portion of the plant used in
remedies is the fleshy root, which has a strong odor and a pungent, bitter,
No known medical conditions preclude
the use of Elecampane.
Use Elecampane with care, if at all.
It is severely irritating to the lining of the nose, throat, stomach, and
intestines, and frequently triggers an
Possible Drug Interactions
No interactions have been reported.
Special Information If You Are
Pregnant or Breastfeeding
No harmful effects are known.
How To Prepare
Elecampane can be made into a tea.
Pour boiling water over 1 gram
(about one-quarter teaspoonful) of
the ground root, steep for 10 to 15
minutes, then strain. If you wish,
sweeten the tea with honey.
To loosen phlegm, drink 1 cup of the
tea 3 to 4 times daily.
Store in a cool, dark place. Do not
use a plastic container.
Symptoms of overdose include
vomiting, diarrhea, spasms, and signs of paralysis. If you suspect an
overdose, seek medical attention