Elecampane inula – rhizomes and roots

Elecampane inula – rhizomes and roots

Elecampane inula – rhizomes and roots

Inula extract

Specification & Spread

Rhizomes with roots of elecampane — rhizomata et radices inulae
Elecampane inula — inula helenium l.
Composite family – asteraceae (compositae)
Other names: nard, inula, nardus.

It is a large perennial herb 60–180 cm tall with a short, thick, many-headed, fleshy, dark brown rhizome from which long adventitious roots and several furrowed stems extend.
The basal leaves are long-petiolate, oblong-elliptical, unequally-toothed, up to 50 cm long.
The stem leaves are smaller.
All leaves are wrinkled, stiff-haired above, densely pubescent, velvety, grey-green in colour.
The flowers are golden yellow, the marginal – false-lingual, the median – tubular, are gathered in large baskets 6-7 cm in diameter, forming silty-paniculate inflorescences.
The fruit is a tetrahedral brown achene with a tuft.

It blooms in July – August, the fruits ripen in August – September. Elecampane inula – Inula macrophylla Kar. et kir. (= I. grandis Schrenk), growing in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, is distinguished by smaller baskets that sit on peduncles in the axils of the bracts, as well as hard, leathery, rough, shiny leaves. The rhizomes with roots of this species are used to produce inulin and fructose.

Spreading. It has a disjunctive area. Most of the area covers the forest, forest-steppe and steppe zones of the European part of Russia, the mountainous areas of the Crimea, the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia. The Asian part of the range includes the south of Western Siberia, parts of Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Habitat. It grows in moist areas along the banks of rivers, lakes, mountain streams, in places where the groundwater leaves. It occurs in forest edges, clearings, high-grass meadows. It is cultivated in gardens and vegetable gardens, often running wild. The harvesting is underway on the introduction of elecampane into industrial culture.


The chemical composition of elecampane

In rhizomes and roots of elecampane there are contained:
essential (alanthic) oil (1-3%), the main components of which are bicyclic sesquiterpene lactones with a predominance of alantholactone and isoalantholactone.
At room temperature, it is a crystalline mass, at 30-45 °C – a brown liquid.

In addition, there are found:

  • up to 40% inulin,
  • tar,
  • tannins,
  • beta sitosterol,
  • triterpene saponins,
  • organic acids.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The rhizomes and roots of elecampane are harvested by hand, digging with shovels, in the fall, from the beginning of fruiting until frost. The dug raw material is shaken off the soil, quickly washed in cold water, remove the remnants of the stems (cutting them off at the base), as well as thin roots and blackened or damaged roots. The rhizomes and thick roots are cut into pieces 2-20 cm long and split lengthwise with a thickness of 1-3 cm.

Security measures. For the resumption of thickets, leave one fully developed fruiting specimen per 10 m2. The repeated harvesting on the same bush are possible after 8 years. To restore populations, several pieces of rhizome, on the tops of which there are renewal buds, are buried in the soil, without digging them down. After digging the roots, the ripe seeds are also poured into the wells. It is necessary to spare the young shoots.

Drying. The rhizomes and roots are dried for 2-3 days in the open air, and under wet weather in wet weather. It is then dried in warm, well-ventilated areas, in attics under an iron roof or under a shed with good ventilation, as well as in dryers or ovens at a temperature not higher than 40 °C. The raw materials lay out a layer of 5-7 cm and often mixed. In dry weather, allowed to dry in the sun.

Storage. In a well-ventilated area, on racks packed in bales or bags, according to the rules for storing essential oil raw materials.

External signs of raw materials

Whole raw materials

Cylindrical or mostly longitudinally cut pieces of rhizomes and roots of at least 2 cm in length and 0.5-3 cm in thickness; the outside is longitudinally fine-wrinkled, very hard, in a fracture uneven, slightly grained, with noticeable brownish shiny spots — the containers are with essential oil (10 × under a magnifying glass).
The colour outside is greyish-brown, on a fracture it is yellowish white or yellowish grey.
The smell is characteristic, fragrant.
The taste is spicy, bitter.

Milled raw materials

The pieces of rhizomes and roots of various shapes, passing through a sieve with 7 mm diameter holes.
The colour is greyish-brown, yellowish white, yellowish grey.
The smell is characteristic, fragrant.
The taste is spicy, bitter.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Expectorant agent.
The pharmacological properties of elecampane

The preparations of elecampane inula detect a wide range of pharmacological activity.

It acts like:

  • expectorant and
  • anti-inflammatory preparations.

Anti-inflammatory effect is especially pronounced in the digestive tract.

Under the influence of elecampane preparations:

  • normal motor and secretory function of different parts of the digestive tract,
  • decreases the activity of the inflammatory process in the stomach,
  • release of digestive enzymes and acidity of gastric contents decreases,
  • spastic phenomena in the area of ​​the gatekeeper disappear,
  • normal evacuation of gastric contents into the intestines,
  • increases the production of mucous substances by the mucous glands of the stomach,
  • bile secretion increases, microbial intestinal flora normalizes,
  • suppressed livelihoods of fungi.

Elecampane acts as an antihelminthic (especially for ascariasis).

Application of elecampane

The rhizomes and roots of Elecampane are used as a decoction as:

  • expectorant for chronic diseases of the respiratory tract (bronchitis, tracheitis, pulmonary tuberculosis) with the release of thick, viscous, poorly flowing sputum.

Essential oil has

  • anti-inflammatory,
  • anthelmintic and
  • antiseptic action.

Anti-inflammatory, choleretic, digestive-regulating properties of elecampane are used when:

  • gastritis,
  • gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer,
  • gastroenteritis,
  • diarrhea of ​​infectious and non-infectious origin,
  • with chronic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.


  • Hypersensitivity to the preparation,
  • kidney disease,
  • pregnancy,
  • lactation,
  • children’s age up to 12 years.