What is Elecampane Root?

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  • Written By: Vanessa Harvey
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2019
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Elecampane root is the underground part of a large herbaceous plant believed to be native to southern England but that also grows and is cultivated in continental Europe, the United States and Canada. It is a medicinal herb that has been employed successfully in folk medicine for many centuries to treat respiratory problems, such as chest congestion; asthma; chronic bronchitis; coughs, including pertussis or whooping cough; and even tuberculosis when combined with the herbs echinacea and black cherry bark. Problems with digestion, urinary retention, delayed menstruation, kidney and bladder stones figure among the other health conditions relieved by herbal remedies of elecampane root. People in some parts of China use the roots of this medicinal plant to prepare herbal remedies that act as natural antidotes to some poisons that have been ingested.

The botanical name of this medicinal plant is Inula helenium, and it also is known by the common names elfwort, horseheal, horse-elder, scabwort, yellow starwort and elfdock. Elecampane root is diaphoretic, or an agent that induces perspiration; diuretic, which means that it increases the flow of urine; stomachic, or a tonic for the stomach; slightly astringent, or having a binding or constricting effect; and stimulating, or warming to the body by increasing circulation. This herb also is an effective all-natural expectorant that produces results even when commercially manufactured expectorants fail.


All-natural preparations of elecampane root to be taken as a medicine might involve making a decoction, making an extract or encapsulating the powdered root. Roots are considered hard parts of plants and must be gently simmered in water for about 30 minutes to make a decoction that can be consumed throughout the day. One heaping teaspoon of the dried and cut herb to 8 ounces (236.58 ml) of water is the usual proportion. A natural grain alcohol such as vodka or gin often is the choice of solvent when preparing a liquid extract. Elecampane root generally is not used for its medicinal properties until it has been aged for at least two years but not more than three years.

Many people prefer to take herbal preparations of the herb in tincture, extract or capsule form instead of drinking a decoction because of the very disagreeable taste of the herb even after sweetener is added. Elecampane is considered to be among the safest herbs used to prepare effective alternative medicines. Pregnant women, however, should always consult with a physician before beginning treatment with herbs for medical problems and conditions.


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Post 1

Elecampane root seems to be an all-around great natural healer. Especially for ailments like the common cold. I think I would want to buy some elecampane in pill form, as the article seems to indicate that is has a particularly strong, bitter natural taste.

It seems like taking natural/herbal supplements are more effective than manufactured medicine. I think a lot of people do not use herbal supplements because they can be very expensive. Even some non-herbal medicine can be expensive, but not as pricey as the herbal/natural medicine.

It is amazing and interesting just how many different illnesses the herb elecampane can help. It can help colds, coughs, stomach pain and upset, increases the flow of urine

and sweat, warming to the body which increases circulation. This really seems to be an all-around natural healer, although I have not tried it, so I do not know for sure, I am just going by what the information in the article states.

Elecampane is also one of the safest herbs out there, so most people can use it without consulting a doctor. Pregnant and/or nursing women should check with their doctor before taking any medicines, even herbal supplements.

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