Inula helenium


Botanical Name: Inula helenium
Common name: Elecampane (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 560
Family: Asteraceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 560)
Parts used: Rhizome (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 560)



  • Sesquiterpene lactones: incl. lactone (“helenalin”) and isoalantolacetone
  • Polysaccharides (mainly inulin)
  • Sterols
  • Resin (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 560)
  • Volatile oil
  • Bitter principal (Weiss, 2001, p. 205)



  • Expectorant
  • Antitussive
  • Diaphoretic
  • Hepatic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Bitter

(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 560)


Mucliage has relaxing effect while essential oils bring about stimulation, allowing the herb to both sooth the irritation and promote expectoration (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 560).

It is shown to be both strengthening and cleansing to pulmonary mucus membranes (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 560)



  • Irritating bronchial coughs
  • In conditions with copious catarrh
  • Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma and bronchial asthma
  • Tuberculosis (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 560)
  • Particularly useful in bronchial conditions when appetite is reduced, as the bitter principal will help to stimulate appetite (Weiss, 2001, p. 205)


Preparation & Dosage

Tincture: (1:5 in 40%) 1-2mL/tds

Infusion: 1tsp shredded root/1cup water. Drink hot as possible

(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 560)


Contradictions: Known allergy to members of Asteraecae family (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 560)


Combinations: For respiratory problems, Elecampane combines well with White Horehound, Coltsfoot, Pleurisy Root and Yarrow (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 198)

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

Hoffmann, D. (1990). Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons

Weiss, R. (2001). Weiss’s Herbal Medicine (classic edition). New York: Thieme.

Image: Blasutto, E., (2007). Giardino Botanico delle Alpi Orientali. Retrieved from:

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