Scientific Name/Common Name: Inula helenium / Elecampane

Part(s) Used: Root

Constituents/Active Ingredients: Sesquiterpene lactones (bitter substances): the eudesmanolides alantolactone, isoalantolactone, and germacrene D-lactone. The mixture of alanto-lactones is also known as helenin. 1-3% essential oil containing alantolactone and its degradation products (alantol, alantic acid) as principal components, along with sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (including b-elemene). Polyacetylenes, aliphatic hydrocarbons. Triterpenes: friedelin, dammaranedienol and its acetate. Sterols: b-sitosterol and its glucoside stigmasterol. Up to 44% inulin.

Overview: Elecampane root is native to southern and eastern Europe but is now cultivated in central Europe, the Near East and North America. Traditionally, elecampane root was used to treat respiratory problems, digestive disorders, and urinary conditions. When given as an expectorant, it is recommended only for coughs that are accompanied with secretions or phlegm. Up to fifty percent of elecampane root is made up of complex carbohydrates known as fructo-oligo-saccharides (FOS), including 20-44% inulin. Based on clinical studies, inulin increases mineral absorption during digestion, boosts beneficial bifidobacteria within the gut, and eliminates pathogens. Inulin is also beneficial for kidney health, blood sugar control, and cholesterol reduction.

Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Traditionally used for respiratory conditions like cough and mucus congestion. Sometimes combined with Echinacea for upper respiratory infections.


Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:

Wichtl M and NG Bisset (eds). 1994. Elecampane root. In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). CRC Press, Stuttgart, Pp. 254-256.

Hoffmann D. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester (VT): Healing Arts Press; 2003.

Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.