Elecampane is a member of the same plant family as the sunflowers and ragweed, native to southern and eastern Europe but naturalized around the world. It is named after Helen of Troy, who carried the flowers with her when Paris abducted her from Sparta. The 6- to 8-foot (200-250 cm) tall plant has large, pointed leaves with downy gray undersides, and yellow summer flowers. It is used extensively for horses and livestock, specifically for skin diseases in horses and sheep. Early American folklore relates that it can cure hydrophobia in cows. Elecampane is also said to enhance psychic abilities and works involving scrying, as well as being one part of a 9 herb bath blend that is said to impart protection from witches.
TYPICAL PREPARATIONS: Usually taken as a tea. Added to cough syrups, expectorants, herbal diuretics, pain remedies, and roborants (for bringing out color from pale skin). Can also be taken internally in the form of a capsule or extract. It has also been known to be candied and eaten as a sweetmeat.