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ELECAMPANE – Inula helenium

In my opinion, elecampane is an underrated and overlooked herb. Once a very important plant in medieval Europe, elecampane is generally not readily available in Australia nowadays, apart from of course The Happy Herb Company.

Elecampane was the ‘The world’s first cough lozenge.’ Traded around Europe by French monks, the root was commonly used for protection against tuberculosis. Interesting fact: Helen of Troy was believed to be gathering Elecampane when she was abducted by Paris, hence its botanical name, Inula helenium.


Elecampane really is the herb for singers’ throats. The herb has incredible protective and restorative properties for the larynx and throat. I believe all singers should have this herb on hand and suck on a piece from time to time to keep their throats in good singing order. It is excellent for laryngitis and I always carry it for this purpose. An excellent medicine for the lungs and throat, elecampane root can help relieve symptoms of coughs, bronchitis, laryngitis and any other respiratory issues.

I was reminded of this wonderful plant recently at a music festival. Somebody came up to me and whispered so low because they had lost their voice due to the dust conditions and infections from the soil that is kicked up while dancing (many people get the flu and get sick at such outside festivals because of this–I have found Propolis to be very useful here too.) I advised her to keep a quid of it in her mouth and let the juice of it trickle down her throat. I saw her later in the day and her voice had returned. 

Another example of a positive experience with this herb…I once had a well known singing tutor come up to me at the Melbourne Mind Body Spirit Festival without his voice and he had to conduct a seminar on how to sing! I gave him a piece of Elecampane to suck on. An hour later I heard him singing on stage in full throat. He came over later and thanked me saying what a miracle herb it was. I replied every singer should know about it. This typifies why we do what we do at Happy Herb Co. and the importance of spreading information about herbs. However we are restricted on making claims-true and proven claims- there should be more herblore I reckon and not herb law and I will sing that to the rooftops (with elecampane of course!)

Elecampane is another wonderful lung-cleansing herb for smokers, great for harm reduction or for detoxifying your lungs after quitting. Enabling better breathing efficiency, elecampane restores the lungs by healing damaged lung linings. If you keep a piece of elecampane in your mouth for a long time you will find that you’ll be removing strips of dead discarded skin that is in your mouth which is the action of elecampane-it cleans and restores.  

It also strengthens digestion, inhibits and expels mucus and relieves nausea and vomiting. Elecampane is known as the ‘singer’s herb’ for its protection of the larynx and throat. I find that if you suck on a piece of Elecampane and swallow it before it’s completely masticated you will go to the toilet in a hurry, so it seems to clean out the lining of your colon as well. 

Elecampane is also good for the pancreas and diabetics as a rich source of natural insulin. 

How to Interact with Elecampane

Chew on a root piece or take as a tea for chronic lung conditions. It also strengthens digestion, inhibits and expels mucus and relieves nausea and vomiting. We also include it in our Cold Ease spagyric, since it is excellent for relieving cold symptoms. 

Sucking on a piece of elecampane may even give some people a very mild herbal high all of its own; aptly described as a ‘sideways stone’. Elecampane certainly gives your mouth and tastebuds a high!

Full List of Medicinal Uses of Elecampane:
(Major benefits in bold)

  • Antiseptic
  • Asthma
  • Assimilation 
  • Bladder catarrh
  • Bronchitis
  • Colds
  • Colic
  • Convulsions
  • Coughs
  • Cramps
  • Diabetes 
  • Diarrhoea
  • Diuretic 
  • Digestion
  • Expectorant 
  • Flu
  • Harm Reduction from Smoking
  • Haemorrhages
  • High blood pressure
  • Internal injury
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Joint pain
  • Laryngitis
  • Loose teeth
  • Lung Issues
  • Menstrual problems
  • Nausea
  • Night sweats
  • Peptic Ulcers
  • Phlegm
  • Poison (counteracts)
  • Recovery from illness
  • Skin diseases (wash or poultice)
  • Sciatica
  • Sore throat
  • Mild stimulant
  • Stomach tonic
  • Sugar substitute
  • Whooping cough
  • Worms

PRECAUTIONS: Elecampane is powerful. Over use may give you diarrhoea and/or vomiting.

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