elecampane(redirected from wild sunflower)
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elecampane (ĕlˌəkămpānˈ), hardy Old World herb, Inula helenium, of the family Asteraceae (aster family), naturalized in America and sometimes cultivated in gardens. It has showy yellow-rayed flowers and a thick root which was formerly regarded as a tonic and remedy for coughs and diseases of the chest. It was used in horse medicine, whence its popular name horse-heal. It was formerly classed in the genus Helenium (sneezeweeds), whose name derives from several traditions: one that Helen carried the flower when Paris took her to Troy; another that it sprang from Helen's tears; and a third that it was named for Helenus, a son of Priam. Elecampane is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.
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Up to 8 ft tall. Big leaves that look like burdock or rhubarb, but narrower and fuzzy underneath. Flowers are also big with very thin yellow petals and a golden middle. Whole plant is edible. Tea made from the root used for lung conditions like pneumonia, bronchitis, cough, asthma, also calm digestive system and effective at expelling intestinal worms. Quite a strong sedative, anti-spasmodic, antiinflammatory, anti-bacterial and fungicide. The roots contain very high amounts of inulin which is a fiber that feeds probiotics and help leaky gut syndrome. Elecampane does however contain toxic lactones that can irritate mucus membranes and cause allergic reactions in some people. Be cautious.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz