Elecampane is a robust hardy perennial plant species that is native to Eurasia but naturalized throughout North America. It is marked by stiff, erect, hairy stems that bear unstalked, ovate leaves while large stalked basal leaves with visible midribs. From June to October, the plant enters its blooming phase giving out large yellow flower heads with outstanding yellow rays that emerge in the form of clusters.
Traditionally, elecampane is associated with the elves and fairy folks. Helenium, its species name, is derived from the Helen of Troy as it is thought to have popped up from where Helen’s tears fell. Although it is a medicinal plant, different parts of the elecampane plant (especially its root) have found their application in culinary areas due to its massive flavor.
Throughout the Middle Ages, elecampane was cultivated and consumed as a medicinal plant. It has an undying relationship with the spleen, stomach, lung, and large intestine. As per the Chinese philosophy and medicine, it treats the feeling of food stagnated in the stomach, lack of appetite, focal distention, nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, diarrhea, and dysentery. It is also used as an aromatic tonic and as a stimulant of the secretory organs to treat cough, whooping cough, bronchitis, and asthma.