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Nutritional Supplement

Elecampane

Parts Used & Where Grown

Elecampane is indigenous to Europe and Asia and is now grown in the United States. The dried roots and rhizomes (branching part of the root) are collected in fall or early winter and used in herbal preparations.

How It Works

Elecampane root and rhizome contain approximately 1–4% volatile oils.1 Most of these volatile oils are composed of sesquiterpene lactones, including alantolactone. Elecampane is also very high in inulin (44%)2 and mucilage. Most herbal texts attribute the actions of elecampane to alantolactone.1 The antitussive (cough prevention and treatment) and carminative (soothing effect on the intestinal tract) effects of elecampane, however, may possibly be due to the inulin and mucilage content. Isolated alantolactone has been used to treat parasites (e.g., roundworm, threadworm, hookworm, whipworm). This use is only by prescription and is not approved in all European countries.4

References

1. Wichtl M. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994, 254-6.

2. Duke, JA. Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1992.

3. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 106-7.

4. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed, Berlin: Springer, 1998, 168-73.

5. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 425-6.

6. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1996, 303.

7. Bradley PR. British Herbal Compendium, vol 1. Great Britain: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1990, 218-9.

8. Forster HB, Niklas H, Lutz S. Antispasmodic effects of some medicinal plants. Planta Med 1980;40:303-19.

9. Wichtl M. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994, 254-6.

10. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al, eds. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 328-9.

11. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 222-4.

12. Hoffman D. The Herbal Handbook: A User's Guide to Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1988, 67.

13. Boyd EM. Expectorants and respiratory tract fluid. Pharmacol Rev 1954;6:521-42 [review].

14. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 222-4.

15. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 328-9.

16. Bradley PR (ed). British Herbal Compendium, vol. 1. Bournemouth, England: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 87-8.

17. Carabin IG, Flamm WG. Evaluation of safety of inulin and oligofructose as dietary fiber. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 1999;30:268-82 [review].

18. Coussement PA. Inulin and oligofructose: safe intakes and legal status. J Nutr 1999;129:1412S-7S [review].

19. Gay-Crosier F, Schreiber G, Hauser C. Anaphylaxis from inulin in vegetables and processed food. N Engl J Med 2000;342:1372 [letter].

20. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, et al. (eds). PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics, 1998, 912-3.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2022.

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