Introduction of Elecampane:wild sunflower or Elfwort.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Elecampane, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Inula helenium., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Elecampane, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.


Inula helenium English Name: Elecampane.
 Latin Name: Inula helenium.
 Common Names: Elf dock, horseheal, scabwort, velvet dock, wild sunflower, Alant, Elfwort, Horse-Elder, Wild Sunflower, Yellow Starwort, Velvet Dock, etc.
 Property and flavor: warm in nature, tastes bitter and pungent.

 Brief introduction: Elecampane is a robust and piliferous perennial that reveals it as a member of the daisy family, it has striking, golden-yellow flowers.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Elecampane as the root of the species (1). Inula helenium. It is a plant species of the Inula genus, the Compositae or Asteraceae family (composite, daisy family). The root and rhizome are used medicinally. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Inula helenium.

 Inula helenium:flowering plant Botanical description: Inula helenium is a perennial plant, it grows 80 to 180 cm high, the rhizome is short with compact branches, it is tuberous and sturdy, with 1 cm thick and 50 cm long roots. The stem is erect, branched above, and villous. The leaves are large, tomentose beneath, and irregularly dentate. The cauline leaves are cordate-acute. The basal leaves are oblong and petiolate.

 The inflorescences are yellow composite flowers in loose, terminal, panicled cymes. They are 7 to 8 cm in diameter. The involucre is imbricate and cup-shaped. The inner bracts are dry at the tip and splayed, and the outer bracts resemble ovate leaves. The female internal florets are narrowly linguiform. The androgynous disc florets are tubular. The receptacle is flat, slightly pitted, and glabrous. The flowers are bright yellow. The achaenes are cylindrical, 4 to 5 mm long, brown, glabrous, and have 4 tips. The pappus is 8 to 10 mm long and consists of brownish, fine, rough, brittle bristles.

 Inula helenium:flowers Ecological environment: Inula helenium is native to Europe and temperate Asia, and was introduced to USA (the United States of America).

 Growth characteristics: Inula helenium is an easily grown plant, it grows well in moist shady positions in ordinary garden soil, though it grows best in good loamy soil. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil in a sunny position.

 Characters of herbs: Elecampane root is the root of Inula helenium, it is harvested in autumn. The roots are then cut and hung up to dry or dried artificially at 50 °C (Celsius, or 122 degrees Fahrenheit).

 Pharmacological actions: ①.blood-pressure-lowering and blood sugar lowering; ②.fight intestinal parasites; ③.inhibit bacteria and antimicrobial; ④.antitumor activity; ⑤.stimulate the immune system; ⑥.clearing of congestion; ⑦.sugar substitute; ⑧.expectorant effect.

 The herb elecampane volatile oil and its component alantolactone has blood pressure lowering, and blood sugar lowering effect in animal studies, it can fight intestinal parasites, the component alantolactone and isoalantolactone inhibit bacteria and fungi and have antitumor activity, stimulate the immune system, increase urination, stimulate the bile flow, break up secretions that may contribute to congestion in coughs and colds. Elecampane volatile oil encourages the clearing of congestion, the root contains a sweet-tasting substance called inulin, which has been used as a sugar substitute for diabetics. The plant has mild antiseptic and expectorant effects due to the essential oil.

 Medicinal efficacy: Elecampane was used traditionally as a digestive tonic, stomach soother, intestinal worm agent, menstrual pain, diuretic for kidney and urinary tract disease, and congestive heart failure. In USA, the dried elecampane root is used as a remedy for digestive, liver, and respiratory disorders, elecampane-soaked bandages have reportedly been used to treat skin irritations and infections. Today it is recommended by herbalists for respiratory ailments such as cough, bronchitis, and emphysema, and used in gastrointestinal remedies, parasite cures, kidney and urinary tract treatment, laxatives, and arthritis preparations. In folk medicine, the preparations are used to treat bronchitis, whooping cough, bronchial catarrh, menstrual complaints, urinary tract infections, colds, worm infestation, and headaches. Externally, poultices of the herb are used for skin infections. In homeopathy, inula helenium preparations are used for stomach ulcers and chronic cough.

 Administration of Elecampane (Elfwort): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Elecampane (Elfwort)
Herbal classic books: A decoction is made with a quarter of a teaspoon powdered root per cup of water. Follow the package instructions to use commercial elecampane preparations. The average single dose is 1 gram. To prepare an infusion, pour boiling water over 1 gram of ground herb and steep for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: The FDA has concluded that as a food, elecampane rhizome and root are generally recognized as safe, but it has made no statement regarding their safety in medicinal concentrations. Its component sesquiterpene lactones irritate mucous membranes, and allergic reactions and contact dermatitis have occurred in people previously sensitized to it and who have skin contact with the herb or its oil. It may also cause an allergic reaction if you are sensitive to other members of the daisy family. A large dosage can cause vomiting, diarrhea, vertigo, abdominal cramps, and symptoms of paralysis, pregnant women should avoid the herb, as its past folk use was for stimulating the uterus.

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