Herb Profile: Elecampane

Elecampane, Inula helenium

Elecampane is traditionally used for fighting infection and clearing dense, sticky mucus from the bronchial system. Elecampane is warming and is indicated for wet, persistent infections. While elecampane helps to remove layers of hardened, infected mucousa of the lungs, it allows for the secretion of a new layer of thin, clear mucous that is rich in immune factors. It can also be used to treat asthma and emphysema.
Elecampane has an effect on lymph nodes, found in the adenoids, tonsils, small intestine, liver, and elsewhere in the body. The lymphatic system is one of the first systems in the body to respond to infections by circulating lymph, a substance that contains white blood cells. These white blood cells are needed to protect passages coming in from the surface (for example, the bronchial airway), to digest foods high in protein, and to process toxic materials.
In treating grief, elecampane is described as “an herb that reaches deep into the lungs and gets things moving again– releasing and cleansing buried grief just as it brings up old and infected mucous.”



Elecampane can be used as a tea, cough syrup or a tincture. For a tea, pour 1 cup cold water onto 1 teaspoon of shredded root and let sit for 8-10 hours; heat up and take very hot 3 x day. The fresh or dried root can be tinctured. As a tincture, take 1-2ml 3 x day. It is often paired with ginger or pleurisy root for syrups or with echinacea to combat deep-seated bronchial infections. For directions on how to make a syrup check out the following recipe from Rosemary Gladstar:

Formula for Lung and Chest Congestion (from Rosemary Gladstar)

This formula can be made into a tea, syrup or tincture and is very effective in clearing up bronchial congestion. If making a tea, adjust flavors by adding more licorice, cinnamon and ginger to the formula.
Combine dried herbs: 2 parts licorice root, 1 part cinnamon, 1 part echinacea, 1 part marshmallow, 1 part elecampane and 1/4 part ginger. Store in an airtight container and use to make a tea or tincture.
To make a syrup, add 2 ounces of herb mixture or elecampane to 1 quart of cold water. Over low heat, simmer the liquid down to 1 pint. Strain the herbs from the liquid and put back in the pot. For each pint of liquid, add 1 cup of honey and mix them well. Take off the heat and bottle for use. You can add brandy to help preserve it longer but either way should last for several weeks to months in the fridge.



Take great caution with dry lung conditions and with pregnancy.  


The information on this page has not been approved by the FDA. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before using herbal products. We do not endorse the websites linked to in the resources and have not extensively reviewed all the information on external pages for accuracy. Everyone reacts differently to herbs and we do not attempt to be completely inclusive in the information and contraindications for each herb.