Botanical name: Inula helenium.
Part used: Root.
Action: Expectorant, alterative, antiseptic,Action tonic, astringent, diaphoretic, stimulant, diuretic, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, anthelmintic, cholagogue, tissue normaliser.
This perennial plant is a native of Europe and Japan. It is one of nature’s greatest remedies, and has been used for tuberculosis, oedema, asthma, etc., from very ancient times, of great value in pulmonary ans catarrhal diseases.
Elecampane grows into a tall, stout, downy plant with very large leaves and bright yellow flowers, something like sunflowers. It is a coarse leaved member of the Daisy family. It is a true native of Britain, though very rarely found in the wild state nowadays. Formerly it was cultivated in monastic gardens and has served both man and beast since Roman times.
The leaves are bitter and aromatic, providing a mucilaginous remedy,and the large root is starchy, black-skinned and aromatic. It has been used mainly as a medicament to relieve pulmonary congestion and was the basis of a sweet or candy that was sucked to ease asthmatical breathing.
Elecampane was taken to America as a Veterinary medicine for horses and for healing sheep-scab. Its vernacular names in the English language are ‘horse-heal’ and ‘scabwort’.
Uses: For catarrh, coughs, shortness of breath, wheezing, bronchitis, asthma, skin diseases, tuberculosis, cystitis, and every form of inflammation.
Elecampane may be given in larger doses in cases of chronic lung trouble. In order to increase its tonic properties, and make it slightly laxative, add a teaspoonful of Compound syrup of Mandrake. ( This is not the English Mandrake [Mandragora, but the American Mandrake]).
To promote free perspiration, make the decoction, and when the patient is well covered in bed, give as hot as can be tolerated in half teacupful doses until the patient perspires freely.
Elecampane is much used to quiet coughing, to stimulate digestion and to tone the stomach. For bronchitis. Urinary and respiratory tract inflammation, and menstrual problems. Elecampane oil is used for respiratory and intestinal catarrh, chronic diarrhoea, chronic bronchitis and whooping cough. The decoction or tincture is used for worms, and externally as a wash or fomentation for skin problems such as scabies and itches.
It is a mucous membrane medicine and useful in bearing down sensations in the pelvic organs and bronchial systems. Sub-sternal pain and diabetes.
Dry cough worse at night and when lying down; larynx painful., Chronic bronchitis; cough with much thick expectoration, with langour and weak digestion. Stitches behind the sternum. Teasing cough with much and free expectoration. Palliative in tubercular laryngitis.
Menses too early and painful. Labour like pains, urging to stool; dragging in genitals with violent headache. Itching of legs during menses, chattering of teeth from cold, during menstruation. A feeling of something moving about in the abdomen and stitches in the genitals, these are some of the indications guiding to the use of this herb. Chronic metritis.
A feeling of pressure toward the rectum and a frequent urging to urinate, passing only in drops rather than the normal stream. Often times smelling of violets.
A herbalist I knew, used Elecampane for all types of lung and bronchial troubles. He advised it in the form of tea with no other remedies. I have to admit that his results were very good indeed.
Place an ounce of the crushed root in a pint of water, and simmer gently for fifteen minutes. Strain, dose a wineglassful three or four times a day. A small amount of Licorice may be added if desired. This may be taken warm or cold, but the best results follow after taking it warm. Here I would like to point out, that the late Dr. Guyon Richards discovered that the fresh plant tincture of Elecampane was a super remedy for fibrous conditions of any tissues or organs of the body. We have found it of great value in fibrousitis and in fibrous states of the mammary glands and other organs. In these cases the dose was five drops of the fresh plant tincture in cold water, three times daily.
Elecampane is used mainly in chronic diseases rather that acute diseases. In Oriental medicine, the flowers have in fact, been used in the treatment of excessive phlegm. The herb contains alantolactone, which helps to expel intestinal parasites, such as pinworms. The primary chemical costituents of the herb include inulin, mucilage, essential oil (azulen), lactones, alantolactone, camphor, sterols and sesquiterpenes. Elecampane’s antitussive effects on coughs and carminative effects on the intestines are thought to be due to its inulin and mucilage content. The root contains inulin, otherwise known as diabetic sugar.
Contraindications. Elecampane should not be used for pregnant or nursing women or, those who suffer from allergies to members of the Daisy family( ragweed, asters, sunflowers, etc.) Overuse (more than recommended dosage) may cause vomiting, diarrhoea or a feeling of unusual heartbeat.