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Elecampane - Inula heleniumElecampane is an antiseptic expectorant that relieves congestion in colds and bronchitis. As a bitter, it can also be used to stimulate digestion, and as an antifungal and helminthic, it can be used to treat yeast infections and parasites.
In traditional herbal medicine, Elecampane is recognized for its remarkable action on the respiratory passages because of it provides a protective coating for the mucus membranes of the bronchial and upper respiratory tract. This explains why Elecampane continues to be a popular addition to many herbal cough remedies. In addition, Elecampane is also cited as a bitter tonic for strengthening stomach functions and improving poor digestion.
For medicinal purposes, the roots should be procured from plants not more than two or three years old. Besides inulin (C6H12O6[C6H10O5]n), a body isomeric with starch, the root contains helenin (C15H20O2), a stearoptene, which may be prepared in white acicular crystals, insoluble in water, but freely soluble in alcohol. When freed from the accompanying inula-camphor by repeated crystallization from alcohol, helenin melts at 110 °C.
Elecampane is one of our largest herbaceous plants. It is found widely distributed throughout England, though can scarcely be termed common, occurring only locally, in damp pastures and shady ground. It is probably a true native plant in southern England, but where found farther north may have originally only been an escape from cultivation, as it was cultivated for centuries as a medicinal plant, being a common remedy for sicknesses in the Middle Ages. When present in Scotland, it is considered to have been introduced. Culpepper says: 'It groweth in moist grounds and shadowy places oftener than in the dry and open borders of field and lanes and other waste places, almost in every county in this country, but it was probably more common in his days, cultivation of it being still general.' It is found wild throughout continental Europe, from Gothland southwards, and extends eastwards in temperate Asia as far as Southern Siberia and North-West India. As a plant of cultivation, it has wandered to North America, where it has become thoroughly naturalized in the eastern United States, being found from Nova Scotia to Northern Carolina, and westward as far as Missouri, growing abundantly in pastures and along roadsides, preferring wet, rocky ground at or near the base of eastern and southern slopes.
|If you are allergic to ragweed, you may be allergic to elecampane. Taking too much of the herb can cause cramps and diarrhea. Do not use more than 1 gram (one-quarter teaspoon) of the herb in any one dose, or more than 3 grams (a little less than a teaspo|