Article: Elecampane

?Elecampane
4523-250px-koeh-210-inula-helenium.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Inuleae
Genus: Inula
Species: I. helenium
Binomial name
Inula helenium

Elecampane, also called Horse-heal (Inula helenium), is a perennial composite plant common in many parts of Great Britain, and ranges throughout central and Southern Europe, and in Asia as far eastwards as the Himalayas.

It is a rather rigid herb, the stem of which attains a height of from 3 to 5 feet; the leaves are large and toothed, the lower ones stalked, the rest embracing the stem; the flowers are yellow, 2 inches broad, and have many rays, each three-notched at the extremity. The root is thick, branching and mucilaginous, and has a warm, bitter taste and a camphoraceous odor.

4524-225px-inule-helenium-inula-helenium.jpg
4525-magnify-clip-inula-helenium.png

For medicinal purposes it should be procured from plants not more than two or three years old. Besides inulin, C12H20O10, a body isomeric with starch, the root contains helenin, C6H8O, a stearoptene, which may be prepared in white acicular crystals, insoluble in water, but freely soluble in alcohol. When freed from the accompanying inula-camphor by repeated crystallization from alcohol, helenin melts at 110° C. By the ancients the root was employed both as a medicine and as a condiment, and in England it was formerly in great repute as an aromatic tonic and stimulant of the secretory organs. As a drug, however, the root is now seldom resorted to except in veterinary practice, though it is undoubtedly possessed of antiseptic properties.

In France and Switzerland it is used in the manufacture of absinthe.

4526-45px-commons-logo-svg-inula-helenium.png
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Inula helenium

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elecampane"

Resources