Elecampane high

Name: Elecampane high

Other names: Elecampane officinalis, Devyatisil, Wild sunflower, Oman, Elecampane.

Diseases and effects: bronchitis, enterocolitis, colitis, functional diarrhea, pharyngitis, gingivitis, periodontal disease, wounds that are difficult to heal.

Active substances: organic acids, bitterness, saponins, vitamin E, gums, resins, mucus, inulin, pseudoinulin, inulicin, gelenin, allantol, proazulene.

Collection time:  April – May, September – October

From the history


This composite plant in ancient times was valued not only for its healing qualities. Legend has it that the beautiful Helen was holding a stalk of elecampane in her hand when Paris kidnapped her. The Slavs called elecampane “grass of the Sun” and used it in love charms.\r

In Christian symbolism, the plant, due to its healing effect, has become an image of liberation from the disease of sin: “Elecampane resists poison, relieves a sore chest, illuminates and gives joy to the heart. Whoever loves God’s word and the church, overcomes the hardships of life without sorrow … “\r

Botanical description


A perennial herbaceous plant from the Asteraceae (Asteraceae) family, 1–2 m high, with a thick, fleshy rhizome and numerous longish roots. Stems are erect, angular, branched in the upper part. Leaves are twisted, alternate, unequally toothed, dark green above, hard-glossy, below – gray-green, soft felt, oblong-elliptical, narrowed at the base into a petiole, stem – oblong-ovate, lower – petiolate, upper sessile, semi-stem amplex . The flowers are golden yellow, collected in numerous large baskets, located singly on cones of branches and stems. The fruit is a tetrahedral, oblong, brown achene. Blossoms in July-August, bears fruit in August.\r



Elecampane is found throughout Ukraine. It grows along the shores of lakes and ponds, in the valleys of rivers, streams, in wet meadows, along the edges of dense forests, among shrubs. It is not often found in the southern part of Ukraine, with the exception of the north of Odessa and Donetsk regions, where up to 0.5-1 tons of dry rhizomes with roots can be harvested. In the Crimea, it is occasionally found in the foothill and mountain zones, it is not advisable to harvest.\r

In connection with the drainage of wetted areas, the development of inconvenient lands, the reserves of raw materials are depleted every year. Elecampane high can and should be introduced into the culture.\r

Procurement rules


Medicinal raw materials of elecampane are roots and rhizomes harvested in the fall (after the death of the aerial part) or in early spring (before regrowth).\r

The dug roots are cleaned from the ground, washed with water and cut into pieces 10-20 cm long and 2-3 cm wide. Within 2-3 days, the raw material is dried in the open air, then it is dried in warm, well-ventilated rooms, and preferably in dryers at a temperature not exceeding 40 °.\r

The finished raw material consists of longitudinally cut pieces of rhizomes and roots from 2 to 20 cm long, 0.5-3 cm thick. The smell of elecampane is strong, fragrant, the taste is bitter-spicy. At the break, the roots and rhizomes are slightly granular, with brownish shiny dots (receptacles with essential oil). Outside, the roots and rhizomes are grayish-brown, at the break – yellowish-gray. Crushed raw materials – pieces of rhizomes and roots of various shapes, passing through a sieve with holes with a diameter of 7 mm.\r

Dried raw materials should have a moisture content of no more than 13%; total ash – no more than 10%; bases of stems and other parts of elecampane, flabby roots and rhizomes – no more than 5%; rhizomes and roots darkened in a fracture – no more than 5%; pieces of roots less than 2 cm long – no more than 5%; organic impurities – no more than 0.5%; mineral impurity – no more than 1%.\r

The biological stock of raw elecampane in Ukraine is not significant. This plant regenerates very slowly. It is necessary to follow the rules for collecting medicinal rhizomes and roots. It is absolutely unacceptable to dig them up before ripening and shedding seeds. Moreover, useful substances accumulate in the roots only by autumn. When harvesting, it will be necessary to leave natural plantations for reproduction after 10 m 2 (2-3 well-developed plants).\r

medical significance


Rhizomes and roots of elecampane contain organic acids, bitterness, saponins, vitamin E, gums, resins, mucus, traces of alkaloids, up to 30% of essential oil and up to 44% of polysaccharides: inulin, pseudoinulin and inulicin. The crystalline portion of the oil, called gelenin, is composed of a mixture of sexviterpene lactones. In addition, the composition of the essential oil includes allantol, proazulene.\r

Elecampane preparations reduce the secretion of bronchial glands, improve expectoration of sputum, have anti-inflammatory and bactericidal effects, reduce intestinal peristalsis and secretory activity, stimulate the formation of bile and its secretion into the duodenum, and normalize general metabolism. Increase diuresis and sweating, have antimicrobial and antihelminthic properties. The latter are due to the presence of alantolactones in it, which are similar in biological action to santonin.\r

Dosage forms of elecampane are used orally for acute and chronic bronchitis, especially accompanied by the release of a large amount of sputum, chronic enterocolitis, colitis, functional diarrhea; externally – in acute and chronic pharyngitis, gingivitis, periodontal disease, difficult to heal wounds. As elecampane products, decoctions are mainly used, less often – infusions.\r

The crushed raw materials (20 g) are poured into 200 ml of water, heated in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes, cooled for 10 minutes, filtered and boiled water is added to the original volume. Take a tablespoon 3 times every day. Also used for gargling (for acute and chronic pharyngitis).\r

Two tablespoons of crushed raw materials are poured into two glasses of water, boiled, evaporating to 1/3 of the original volume and filtered. Used for rinsing the mouth with gingivitis, stomatitis, periodontal disease.\r

The crushed raw materials (50 g) are poured into 100 ml of water, boiled for 20 minutes and filtered. The resulting broth is mixed with 50 g of petroleum jelly. Used for application to the affected areas of the skin (for difficult-to-heal wounds).\r

The essence of fresh roots and rhizomes is also used in homeopathy. From the sum of sesquiterpene lactones of this plant, the product alanton was obtained, which is used for gastric and duodenal ulcers. The drug has an anti-inflammatory capillary-strengthening and antiseptic effect, accelerates the regeneration of the gastric mucosa in case of ulcerative lesions. In patients, appetite improves, body weight increases. Alanton is taken 1 tablet 3-4 times every day half an hour before meals for 6-8 weeks.\r

Elecampane is widely used in veterinary medicine, 20-30 g is prescribed for large animals, small – 5-10 g in the form of a decoction for all kinds of respiratory diseases, inflammation of the stomach and intestines, as well as a hemostatic agent.\r

In the food industry, elecampane oil is used in the manufacture of sweets, alcoholic beverages, and also for flavoring culinary products.\r

Elecampane is considered by the people to be a very valuable remedy that restores strength and health.\r

Widely used in M.N. Zdrenko.\r

Brief recommendations for growing in home gardens


Elecampane is undemanding to the ground, but loves low, moist and shady places. The plot is prepared in the usual way. The plant reproduces well by seeds and vegetatively (by division of rhizomes).\r

Seeds do not require pre-treatment. They are sown in autumn or early spring in holes, to a depth of 0.5-1 cm with a feeding area of ​​60 × 60 cm. Elecampane grows slowly, in the first year only a rosette of basal leaves appears. In autumn, the aerial part dies off, in order to rise again in early spring with a powerful stem. Elecampane blooms in the 2nd year of life in July, the seeds ripen in August-September. Dark brown seed heads are harvested, dried and threshed. It should be noted that elecampane has a high seed productivity: one three-year-old plant produces up to 4500 seeds. Therefore, to obtain seed material, a limited number of specimens (2/3 of plants) can be left, and the rest can be used for raw materials. The yield of 2-3-year-old plantations reaches 1.5 kg/m 2 of dry roots.

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