elecampagne large Elecampagne

Elecampagne | Inula helenium

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include elecampagne (pronounced ellie-cam-pane) , scabwort, elf dock, velvet dock, wild sunflower, horse heal (due to its reputation for curing skin diseases in horses).

Elecampagne is a member of the daisy family (Compositae/Asteraceae), the ragged looking yellow flower resembles a sunflower though the plant is more bushy with multiple flower heads and large broad leaves. It is a native of Europe, parts of Africa and Asia and is naturalised in North America.

Elecampagne appears often in Anglo-Saxon herbals.

It is a perennial plant that produces only leaves in the first year then flowers in subsequent years. It grows up to 6 feet high. Not a commonly seen wild flower in the UK but likes to grow in damp hedgerows, woodland edges and near water. It has slightly tacky leaves and a pungent, aromatic smell.


Elecampagne organic dried root and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.


images courtesy of "Inula helenium 002" by H. Zell - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Inula_helenium_002.JPG#/media/File:Inula_helenium_002.JPG

harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

The root/rhizome is the part most often used in medicine which must be at least in its second year of growth. It is unearthed from September through to November when the foliage is dying back. Wash the roots thoroughly and chop into small pieces and lay out to dry, spreading thinly. Check for mould regularly and discard any spoiled pieces. When fully dry, store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place, checking in the first few weeks for any signs of mould etc.


Elecampagne organic dried root and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.


images courtesy of "Inula helenium 002" by H. Zell - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Inula_helenium_002.JPG#/media/File:Inula_helenium_002.JPG



therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Elecampagne root is rich in magnesium, zinc and thiamine (B1), essential oils (which act as fungicides and bactericides) and contains natural antibiotic like substances.


Use small doses internally and/or externally for MRSA infections and for other chest and lung infections.


Famed for its tonic and all round beneficial action on the lungs, elecampagne acts as a true tonic to the body when it is debilitated, fatigued, when recovering or still suffering from chronic long term illness. It can prove beneficial as a restorative herb in chronic fatigue syndrome. It is also known to have an uplifting effect on the spirit.


Elecampagne root is rich in a starchy fibre called inulin, a form of starch used as food reserve in many plants both edible and medicinal. Inulin passes through the entire digestive system un-metabolised until it reaches the bowel. Here it acts as a prebiotic where it delivers a boost to healthy bacteria in the bowel. Inulin also absorbs water and forms a slimy mucilage which soothes membranes and lessens irritations.

This may explain its traditional use against worms and other intestinal parasites, to soothe vague stomach troubles, to strengthen poor digestive powers, diarrhoea, dysentery, yeast infections such as candida, it is a gentle laxative, gastritis and enteritis. It is also classed by some as a 'stomachic' that is having a beneficial effect on all the functions of the stomach, including indigestion, gastric ulcers and of benefit to the liver.


Its actions on the respiratory systems include anti-bacterial, stimulating, warming, expectorating (bringing out mucous) and soothing. It is sometimes referred to as a 'pectoral' herb, an old fashioned term meaning that it generally strengthens and improves the overall function of the lungs.

This makes it very useful for conditions affecting the lungs and respiratory system (where it seems to provide a tonic like boost also) and has been used in conditions such as bronchitis, chronic coughs, smokers cough, whooping cough & croup (mix with thyme leaf), asthma, hayfever, cattarhal congestion, irritation in the airways, tuberculosis (it is strongly antibacterial against Mycobacterium tuberculosis), spitting blood and bleeding from the lungs, emphysema, breathing difficulties and shortness of breath, pneumoconiosis (miners lung), silicosis and night sweats from lung disease and persistent coughs, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It is also an excellent warming herb, clearing stagnant and excessive mucous from the system. Cysts, sluggish lymph and blood, sinus congestion and similar can all be improved with Elecampagne root.


Make a strong tea (simmer 2 teaspoons of root in a pint of water for 10 minutes), pour the tea into a large bowl, lean over the bowl and put a towel over the head to trap in the fumes. breathe deeply for several minutes to gain relief from thick mucous congestion in colds, flu and sinusitis.


The root helps with hypoxia (lack of oxygen flow to the tissues).


Elecampagne root can also be useful in itching or eruptive skin conditions such as eczema where congestion and stagnation are an issue. Boils and other eruptive skin conditions can also be helped with regular use of the root.


It is also showing promise as a potent killer of certain tumour cells as indicated in this research abstract. It may also prove to be an effective chemopreventive agent to protect against cancer


Rheumatism and rheumatic pain may be helped with small internal doses (in a wider formula) or by making an ointment or tea from the roots and applying to the affected area. Pain from neuralgia and sciatica can also be relieved. You can also brew a strong tea and add it to baths for this purpose.


Elecampagne root has been used traditionally for all kinds of pain, including from animal bites and even rabies/hydrophobia (according to accounts from the early 1900's) when given in strong doses as a tea.


The ancient healers such as Hippocrates and Galen noted it had a beneficial action on the uterus and urinary systems too. It can bring on suppressed menstruation and help to break down and clear thickened obstructions in endometriosis.


Here is a link to the excellent Henriette's Herbal pages containing a vast array of first hand accounts of using elecampagne root in diseases. Henriette herself sums up the plant beautifully in this blog post on elecampagne root. Read all the way down the page as the comments are fascinating too!


Astrological herbalist Elisabeth Brooke states that elecampagne is related to the brow or third eye chakra and governed by the planet Mercury (ruler of the head and nerves). She suggests using it in very small doses (5 drops of tincture daily) for people who are emotionally rigid and stuck in their heads to gently unblock the higher mind.



dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

* Elecampagne root is generally considered a safe herb for medium to long term use (up to several months at full dosage) and for much longer term use when used as a preventative in smaller doses (e.g 2ml daily).

* Do not use elecampagne root when pregnant or breastfeeding, it has a stimulating action on the uterus.

* Avoid in coughs or conditions that are hot and dry.

* Elecampagne root can have rapid results for acute conditions but may have to be taken longer term (several months) to see results in deeper more chronic disorders.

* Good results can be achieved with small amounts of elecampagne root so start small, building and increasing the dose only if needed.

* Avoid use if allergic to any members of the daisy family.


Tincture (root) : 1-2 ml 3 times daily

Dried root in tea form : 0.25 - 1 teaspoon of dried root per cup of water simmered for 10 minutes minimum, 3 times daily.


Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.
* Not recommended in children under 2 years old.





Child watering plants




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