Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A tall coarse plant (Inula helenium) in the composite family, native to Eurasia, having rayed yellow flower heads and aromatic roots formerly used medicinally.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The common name of Inula Helenium, a coarse stout composite plant, a native of central Europe and Asia, sometimes cultivated, and often found naturalized in meadows and pastures in the eastern United States.
  • noun A coarse sweetmeat, professedly made from the root of the plant, but really composed of little else than colored sugar.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) A large, coarse herb (Inula Helenium), with composite yellow flowers. The root, which has a pungent taste, is used as a tonic, and was formerly of much repute as a stomachic.
  • noun A sweetmeat made from the root of the plant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A tall Eurasian herb, Inula helenium, whose roots have been used medicinally

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun tall coarse Eurasian herb having daisylike yellow flowers with narrow petals whose rhizomatous roots are used medicinally

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English elecampana : Old English elene (from Medieval Latin enula, from Latin inula, from Greek helenion, from Helenē, Helen; see Helen) + Medieval Latin campāna, of the field (from Latin campānea, feminine of campāneus, from campus, field).]

Examples

  • I went quietly about the room, picking up the discarded clothes, straightening the trifling disorder on the table, putting fresh charcoal in the brazier, adding a pinch of elecampane to sweeten the smoke.

    Sick Cycle Carousel

  • Culpeper endorsed elecampane wholeheartedly: “It has not its equal in the cure of whooping-cough in children, when all other medicines fail.”

    Earl Mindell’s New Herb Bible

  • Culpeper endorsed elecampane wholeheartedly: “It has not its equal in the cure of whooping-cough in children, when all other medicines fail.”

    Earl Mindell’s New Herb Bible

  • Culpeper endorsed elecampane wholeheartedly: “It has not its equal in the cure of whooping-cough in children, when all other medicines fail.”

    Earl Mindell’s New Herb Bible

  • Culpeper endorsed elecampane wholeheartedly: “It has not its equal in the cure of whooping-cough in children, when all other medicines fail.”

    Earl Mindell’s New Herb Bible

  • Vegetation was not so completely destroyed; trees died and remained bare and pickled; some grasses suffered, but others of the ranker sort flourished, and great areas were covered by a carpet of dwarfed and stunted corn-cockles and elecampane set in grey fluff.

    The Shape of Things to Come

  • TREATMENT: Coughs can be treated with thyme tea and syrup, or with teas and/or syrups of coltsfoot,* mullein, loquat leaves, elecampane root and flowers, and wild cherry bark.

    THE NATURAL REMEDY BIBLE

  • Formula number 61 Old Indian Cough Syrup combines yerba santa, echinacea, osh, grindelia, wild cherry bark, elecampane, and many other herbs in a pleasant-tasting syrup.

    THE NATURAL REMEDY BIBLE

  • This is the classic version; clinically Michael has developed his own preferred version, which adds a number of Western herbs, including elecampane, echinacea, boneset, isatis, and horehound.

    THE NATURAL REMEDY BIBLE

  • I must remember to boil elecampane root in springwater for his rash.

    Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe

Comments

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  • "I went quietly about the room, picking up the discarded clothes, straightening the trifling disorder on the table, putting fresh charcoal in the brazier, adding a pinch of elecampane to sweeten the smoke."

    —Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (NY: Delacorte Press, 1991), 830

    January 1, 2010

  • I like this one from the Century: "A coarse sweetmeat, professedly made from the root of the plant, but really composed of little else than colored sugar."

    July 13, 2015

  • Usage/historical note in comment on eryngo.

    January 9, 2017