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

  • n. A tall coarse plant (Inula helenium) native to central Asia, having rayed yellow flower heads. The roots are used medicinally.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • n. A sweetmeat made from the root of the plant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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.
  • n. A coarse sweetmeat, professedly made from the root of the plant, but really composed of little else than colored sugar.

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

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


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).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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

    Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe

  • I'm goin 'to fix her up some hoarhound an' elecampane quick 's the ground's nice an 'warm an' roots livens up a grain more.

    In Dark New England Days

  • Dominated by grasses more than five feet tall but ranging up to twelve feet in height-big bulbous bluestem, feather grasses, and tufted fescues-the colorful forb meadows added a variety of flowering and broad-leaved herbs: aster and coltsfoot; yellow, many-petaled elecampane and the big white horns of datura; groundnuts and wild carrots, turnips and cabbages; horseradish, mustard, and small onions; irises, lilies, and buttercups; currants and strawberries; red raspberries and black.

    The Plains of Passage

  • Besides, you and Uba collected so many elecampane roots, I don't think there's a single plant left around here, and we probably won't have many black raspberries this season with all the roots you dug up to mix with wort flowers for my tea.

    The Clan of the Cave Bear


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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