Sunday, February 04, 2007

Herb of the Week:Elecampane (Inula helenium)

Elecampane (Inula Helenium)

This week I choose to study Elecampane, and took it in various forms by itself and with other herbs in combination. I chose Elecampane because it isn't a plant I've worked with very much, and I wanted to get to know it better. It isn't one I've ever grown, and have only met it a few times. I did spend a rainy, cold New Hampshire morning digging up an Elecampane root at Heartsong Farms. Funny that, since I came down with a burning respiratory infection after that rainy day outside.

Elecampane, which I first learned of when reading Clan of the Cave Bear as a girl, was used by Ayla to help her adopted mother Iza, combat the ravages of Tuberculosis. I did find it mentioned for use in Tuberculosis in some classic herbal texts.

So, here you are, my friends....Elecampane


It is Warm and Dry in nature, especially good for boggy and cold conditions, think of that stuck mucus in your lungs that you can't quite cough up, that has been there for weeks after a respiratory infection.

It primarily affects the Mucus membranes (respiratory, gut, uterine, urinary). You may know it best as a respiratory herb, but it is acutally quite beneficial to the digestive system and urinary system. Elecampane, like burdock, is very high in Inulin, which is food for the friendly bacteria in your intestines, so a good complement to anyone with intestinal dysbiosis(sometimes called candida, but which is perhaps better described as a lack of beneficial flora after taking a round of antibiotics.) I'd certainly reccomend it on that virtue for someone after taking antibiotics, but it also has a warm stimulating nature and a bitter flavor that is superb for stimulating sluggish digestive function.

It is also excellent for chronic respiratory problems, especially with stuck mucus and congestion. It is a stimulating expectorant, and helps to move blood and immune molecules to the repsiratory tract, and then helps to move that stagnant mucus OUT of there.

Uses: Chronic catarrh, catarrhal dyspepsia, asthma (humid), stimulant expectorant, hepatic disorders (torpor), dysmennorhea, endometriosis, persistent cough with pain beneath sternum, tuberculosis?, atonic dyspepsia, diarrhea, intestinal dysbiosis

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