There are three yellow aster-like flowers that on first glance look a little alike- Calendula, Grindelia and Elecampane. The latter two are presently blooming so in class I had the apprentices sit with them and carefully draw each flower. It was surprizing how different each was once studied carefully.
Inula helenium (L) Elecampane.......or Helenium grandiflorum (Gilib.), Aster officinalis (All.), Aster helenium (L.), Alant, Elfwort, Elf Dock, Velvet dock, Scabwort, Yellow starwort, wild sunflower, Elecampagne, Horseheal, Horse elder is another yellow aster-like (/Asteraceae/Compositae) flower that is presently blooming. But unlike Grindelia she stands tall off the ground (see photo below).
The rhizomes (roots) should be collected from plants which are at least two years old in September or October, after the stem has died
Elecampane is a specific for irritating bronchial coughs, especially in children and the elderly. It may be used in asthma and bronchitic asthma. It is an appreciable relaxant so is also indicated when there is a nervous component in a cough. It may be used wherever there is copious catarrh formed. This remedy shows the complex and integrated ways in which herbs work. The mucilage has are laxing effect accompanied by the stimulation of the essential oils. In this way expectoration is accompanied by a soothing action which in this herb is combined with an anti-bacterial effect.
The plant’s bitter principle stimulate the appetite and digestion, increasing the flow of bile, and can be used to support a debilitated constitution, particularly following influenza or bronchitis. It promotes menstruation and has been used to treat anaemia.
Externally, it may be used in the treatment of scabies, herpes and other skin diseases from which it gained its common name scabwort.
Please be aware that Occasional allergic reactions may occur. Inula should not be used during pregnancy or lactation.
(References D. Hoffman)
Here is a slightly different look at Elecampane....It is part of a collection of photos that I am calling "Birth" It is the flower as it prepares to bloom.
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