Elecampane root (Inula helenium) is a great herb with several health benefits. It belongs to the Compositae or Asteraceae family of plants. On a stalk that can reach 8 feet (2.4 metres) in height, it produces a huge yellow bloom. It has a long history of use in Europe as well as in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Elfwort, elfdock, scabwort, horseheal, and yellow starwort are some of the other names for elecampane. Lung illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, and whooping cough are treated with elecampane. It’s also used as an expectorant to help loosen phlegm so it may be coughed up more readily and to avoid coughing, especially coughing induced by tuberculosis. Elecampane root has also been utilised as a food and beverage flavouring agent, as well as a scent in soaps and cosmetic items. It’s most commonly used as an antibacterial agent or to treat respiratory or gastrointestinal problems when taken as a dietary supplement.

Why should you include elecampane in your diet?

  • Rich in anti-oxidants and prevents inflammation 

Elecampane root contains anti-inflammatory active substances that may aid in the treatment of inflammation-related respiratory illnesses. According to a study of over 120 studies, elecampane contains antioxidant activity that may aid in the battle against oxidative stress and inflammatory disorders such as cancer, decreased brain function, and diabetes. While additional research is needed, alantolactone, a substance found in the Inula genus of herbs, including elecampane, is thought to be responsible for much of its antioxidant activity.

  • Improves respiratory health

Elecampane root has a long history of usage in folk medicine for cough relief and respiratory diseases such as rhinitis, bronchitis, and throat infections. Alantolactone extracted from elecampane decreased airway inflammation caused by cigarette smoke inhalation and also helped expand airways, according to a test-tube study. In a 2021 study, researchers gave children with an acute cough an elecampane-containing cough suppressant for eight days. The children who took the actual suppressant had fewer symptoms at the end of the research than the ones who received the placebo.

  • Has antimicrobial properties

Researchers have also looked at the antibacterial and antifungal properties of elecampane root extracts. Compounds in elecampane extract were discovered to be efficacious against the bacteria Staphylococcus in a test tube research. Further investigation into its uses in the context of antibiotic-resistant infectious illnesses was also advised by the authors. In further test-tube investigations, elecampane root was found to be effective against Staphylococcus, most likely by disrupting bacterial cell membranes and causing them to die.

  • Has anti-cancer properties

More research is needed to confirm that elecampane root has anti-cancer properties in humans. However, a recent study suggests that it could yield some encouraging results. In a test tube investigation conducted in 2006, elecampane extract was discovered to be harmful to some tumour cells. In a 2019 test-tube investigation, an isolated elecampane molecule named eudesmane sesquiterpenoid was discovered to induce cancer cell death.

How will you incorporate elecampane into your diet?

Elecampane root is available as a dry powder, loose tea, or liquid extract. You can also buy whole roots and ground them at home to make a powder. If your local health food store does not have any, you can order it online. Elecampane root supplements come in a variety of dosages. Currently available products recommend consuming about 1/4–1/2 teaspoon (0.5–1 gramme) of elecampane each day. To establish whether you can safely add elecampane root to your regimen, speak with your healthcare professional.

Final Thoughts

Elecampane root is an easily accessible natural remedy for respiratory issues. According to available studies, elecampane root and other Inula species extracts have powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and even anticancer activities. There is no harm in incorporating this into your daily diet and experiencing its benefits.

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