Inula helenium (Compositae)
ELECAMPANE, SCABWORT, HORSEHEAL
This herb has long been grown in
European gardens as a medicine, and is still given by herbalists for
respiratory conditions. Chinese medicine uses it for similar purposes, and
Said to be named after Helen of Troy,
I. helenium was well known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who used it as a digestive tonic after indulgent feasting.
It is native to Europe, where it grows in damp pastures and on roadsides,
and used to be grown in European gardens for use as a medicine and a confectionery.
A perennial with a deep taproot and hairy stems, it has large egg-shaped leaves and,
in late summer, many slender bright-yellow flowerheads.
Inulin; volatile oil containing
sesquiterpene lactones, especially alantolactones.
Stimulating expectorant; induces sweating; digestive; stops the growth of bacteria.
Given for bronchial and other respiratory
conditions where resistant catarrh produces a persistent cough, for coughs in tuberculosis,
and for irritating coughs in children. Used for similar conditions by Chinese physicians, who also prescribe it for worms.