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Inula heleniumInula 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 for worms.

 

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.

 

PARTS USED

Root.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Inulin; volatile oil containing sesquiterpene lactones, especially alantolactones.

 

ACTIONS

Stimulating expectorant; induces sweating; digestive; stops the growth of bacteria.

 

MEDICINAL USE

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.

 

PREPARATIONS

Infusion, tincture.

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