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Scientific Names Elecampane

Inula helenium L.

Inula britanica

Inula Chinensis


Composite family


Common Names








Pushkaraula (Sanskrit name) 


Velvet dock 

Xuan fu (Chinese name)


Parts Usually Used

Roots, leaves, flowers

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Elecampane is a perennial plant 4-8 feet tall; the fibrous, top-shaped rootstock is brown outside and white inside. The stout, round stem is coarse and woolly, 3-6 feet high, and bears large, alternate, ovate, serrate, olive-colored leaves with white veins; tacky to the touch. The large, bright yellow flower heads 4 inches across, daisy-like, are solitary or grow in paniculate clusters from July to September. The fruit is a brown, quadrangular achene. The whole plant exudes a pungent odor similar to camphor; stalks have a bitter aromatic taste. This plant is similar in appearance to horseradish.

Medicinal Properties

Anthelmintic, antispasmodic, analgesic, cholagogue, diuretic, diaphoretic, expectorant, stimulant, aromatic, astringent, tonic, carminative, antiseptic, alterative, deobstruent, laxative, antiemetic, stomachic, emmenagogue

Biochemical Information

Essential oil, bitter principles, resin, inulin, carbohydrate


Legends, Myths and Stories

Way back in Roman times, Pliny told of the fact that the use of elecampane would relieve indigestion. Elecampane was one of the most important herbs to the Greeks and Romans. It was regarded as almost a cure-all for dropsy, digestive upsets, menstrual disorders and sciatica. The Anglo-Saxons used the herb as a tonic, for skin diseases, and leprosy. By the 19th century, it was used to treat skin disease, neuralgia, liver problems, and coughs. Today it is used almost exclusively for respiratory problems. In China, Inula japonica, also called elecampane, is used instead of I. helenium.


Elecampane tea (1/2 oz. to 1 pint water) is much used to quiet coughing, to stimulate digestion, relieve dyspepsia and to tone the stomach; for bronchitis, pleurisy, pneumonia, combined with echinacea, elecampane is excellent for consumption, asthma, hay fever, whooping cough, urinary and respiratory tract inflammation, flu, inflammations, wounds, sores, canker sores, sciatica, acne, remove age spots, freckles, and menstrual problems. Elecampane oil is used for respiratory, strongly expectorant for coughs, upset stomach, used in China for certain cancers, and intestinal catarrh, cystitis, chronic diarrhea, and whooping cough. The decoction or tincture is used for intestinal worms, and externally as a wash or fomentation for skin problems such as rashes, scabies and itches. As a nasal wash or inhalation, elecampane effectively clears catarrh. It is also incorporated in herbal ointments for rheumatic aches and pains. In small doses, it lowers blood-sugar levels, but in larger doses, it raises blood-sugar levels, at least in experimental animals, however, one reference claims that elecampane lowers blood-sugar levels due to the inulin content, thereby reducing tooth decay.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease.