Inula helenium

An easy to grow tall hardy perennial with bright yellow flowers, elecampane was employed in folk medicine for many centuries for treating the respiratory system. 9x9cm pot (8cm depth)

9x9cm pot (8cm depth)

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  • Antibacterial herb
  • Striking flowers attracting beneficial insects
  • High levels of inulin
  • Easy to grow

Elecampane also had the folk name Scabwort – which is often applied to herbs like this that contain high levels or Inulin, a type of fibre that may help gut health and also the skin. As a garden herb it is better planted at the back of the border due to its height, the bright yellow flowers can still be admired there.

Plant Care

  • Height: 100-150cm
  • Type: Hardy
  • Aspect: Sun
  • Soil: Any/alkaline
  • Flower colour: Orange/yellow
  • Flowering period: July - September

This striking and tall perennial has thick fibrous roots and needs a rich moisture retentive (but not wet) soil and full sun. It can be grown in a pot; the bigger the better so those big roots have plenty of space, though this should be achieved gradually, potting it up as it grows. It dies down completely in winter and the old leaves and dead flowering stems can be removed.


This impressive plant has its affinity to the lungs and respiratory system, through the use of its roots. These are harvested in the autumn of its second or third year and can be used fresh or dried to make a bitter, spicy and warming infusion. They can also be made into a sweet tasting medicine by infusing with honey to make a syrup or by candying them, this traditional remedy acts as a stimulating expectorant and makes a good tonic to soothe coughs and bronchitis. Modern research is seeing its potential as an antibacterial plant specific to MRSA.




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