ELECAMPAGNE / INULA HELENIUM
This vigorous, cheerful plant could be mistaken for a wacky sunflower, and indeed one of its folk names is 'wild sunflower'; others are 'elf-wort', 'elf-dock', referring to the elves that hide beneath its elephantine leaves and its use as a protective tonic against sneaky elves that meddle with your health!
Beyond its Magikal reputation, Elecampagne is known as a superior lung fortifier, helping to cleanse and strengthen from the inside out. For deep bronchial infections with thick yellow or green mucus, elecampagne helps the body bring everything up and out while playing a role in killing the bacteria causing the infection. It is highly antiseptic and has been used topically to help skin with persistent infections heal. Elecampagne has also traditionally been used across cultures as a digestive aid, being the perfect carminative (tummy soother): bitter, aromatic, inulin rich, and anti-parasitic, it is a very underutilized digestive strengthener that works on many different issues simultaneously.
The fresh root dug one to two years old is best for medicine, and traditionally a syrup is made using 2 parts decoction to one part sugar or honey. Follow the recipe below to make not only a cough/digestive syrup but also a batch of delicious candied roots from the same plant matter! This method works well to capture both the bitter principles as well as the volatile oils within the plant.
- 2 medium elecampagne roots washed well (or one large divided in 2)
- 2 cups water
- one cup sugar or honey
- finely chop first root and slow simmer in 2 cups water for 40 minutes.
- strain roots and add 1 cup sugar
- simmer for about 30 minutes until water is reduced and syrup is viscous/slightly thickened
- finely chop 2nd root and add to the mixture on stove
- simmer for another 10 minutes then turn off heat and let sit for another 5 mins with lid on
- strain and press syrup out/ bottle it. Preheat oven to 300
- take sugary plant root matter and press into a baking sheet, pop in the oven at 300 for 30 mins.
- turn oven off and let sit for an hour or more
- take em out, roots should feel hard like candy and have no more water- put back in the oven if they still feel 'wet'. scrape off the pan and put them in a jar.