Elecampane Oil: Benefits, Uses, Properties, and Side Effects
A few of the prominent elecampane essential oil benefits include boosting the immune system, enhancing metabolism, and detoxifying the body.
The chances are that you might not have heard of this essential oil and that’s entirely for good reasons. The rarer an essential oil is, the expensive it is, but the health benefits are much beyond than the usual ones. Elecampane essential oil also happens to be in this list. Though it is highly expensive, it is high performing.
Considering this, here is a detailed article highlighting the benefits of elecampane essential oil, its chemical composition, properties, side effects, and much more.
What Is Elecampane Oil?
Elecampane oil is extracted from the dried roots of Inula helenium. The plant belongs to the Asteraceae family. Inula helenium is a perennial herb, which can grow 3 to 6 feet tall.
Coarse, toothed, rough-hairy leaves, sunflower-like flowers, and aromatic roots characterize the plant.
For the extraction of the essential oil, the roots are dried and then subjected to steam distillation. The plant has been a part of folk medicines of many countries. It has also found its place in the European pharmacopeias.
The genus Inula consists of many species. The plants are widely found in Europe and East Asia. The plant has been valued for its aromatic roots. The root extracts are studied for its anti-inflammatory, anti-helminthic, and anti-microbial activities (1).
The root is still used as a flavoring agent for absinthe in France and Switzerland.
Scientific Name Of Elecampane Oil
The botanical name of elecampane is Inula helenium.
History Of Elecampane Oil
Its botanical name “helenium” is derived from Helen of Troy, a story that claims Inula helenium to be growing in places where Helen’s tears fell when she was abducted in Paris. The genus name Inula comes from a Latin term (2).
The common name Elecampane is derived from the Latin term “enula” and “campanus,” which means field. The plant is also nicknamed to be “Horses heal,” as it was used to treat pulmonary disorders in horses in olden days.
The origin of Elecampane is not documented, but the usage of the root extracts can be traced back to more than thousands of years. The plant is believed to be a native of Europe, but it was naturalized in America and Asia too.
In early days, the herb was also used to heal scabs on sheep. According to Hippocrates, Elecampane stimulates brain, kidneys, stomach, and uterus.
The herb possesses a special place in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicinal systems and claims that it treats respiratory disorders.
Colour, Consistency, and Smell Of Elecampane oil
- The colour of elecampane oil is pale yellow to light brown.
- The consistency of elecampane oil is thin.
- The smell of elecampane oil is slightly bitter, camphoraceous, and woody.
Properties Of Elecampane Essential Oil
The therapeutic properties of Elecampane essential oil include:
- Antifungal – Prevents fungal growth
- Antimicrobial – Prevents microorganism growth
- Anti-bacterial – Prevents bacterial growth
- Anthelmintic – Repels intestinal parasites
- Antioxidant – Inhibits oxidation
- Astringent – Contracts or tightens tissues
- Antitussive – Relieves coughs
- Balsamic – Soothes sore throats, coughs
- Calmative – Sedative, calming agent
- Carminative – Relieves flatulence, easing abdominal pain and bloating
- Decongestant – Reduces congestion
- Depurative – Cleanser, detoxifier
- Diuretic – Promotes the removal of excess water from the body
- Immunostimulant – Stimulates the action of the immune system
- Stimulant – Increases the overall function of the body
- Stomachic – Good for the stomach; acts as a digestive aid
- Tonic – Refreshes, restores the body and bodily functions.
Chemical Compounds In Elecampane Oil
The chemical compounds in the oil varies according to the climate during the harvest time and the area of cultivation.
The major compounds in elecampane oil are Alantolactone 52.4%, Isoalantolactone 33.0%, Eudesma-5,7(11)-diene-8 b-12 olide 1.3%, and b-Elemene 1.2% (3).
Health Benefits Of Elecampane Oil
Though the elecampane oil benefits are abundant, the most important ones are:
1. Detoxifies your body
According to Ayurveda, the accumulation of toxins in the body is the primary cause of any disease. To cure any illness and to prevent you from acquiring an infection, it is critical to remove toxins from the body.
Oil, in general, helps you to cleanse the body. Elecampane essential oil is one of the oil recommended by doctors for detox. Being a laxative, it helps to clean the gut, and as a diuretic, it removes toxins through increased urination (4).
However, make sure you use the oil only when recommended by a doctor and use just in the prescribed manner.
2. Improves metabolism
Metabolism is a crucial biochemical process where nutrients combine with oxygen. This process releases energy that your body needs to function daily.
Elecampane essential oil acts as a tonic. It stimulates metabolism and regulates the hormonal imbalance. An optimized metabolism in the human body is critical for good health.
3. Supports digestive health
Traditionally, elecampane root extract was used to treat digestive problems and increase the digestive fire, enhancing digestion. One cup of water infused with a teaspoon of elecampane root when taken orally helps in improving digestive health.
A gentle massage using the diluted elecampane oil as advised by a professional physician supports your digestive health too (5).
4. Good for skin health
The skin is the largest organ in the body and is more vulnerable to many external and physical damages. The astringent property of elecampane essential oil is believed to improve your skin problems.
Also, the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of the oil give your skin a good tone, reduces spots, and wrinkles. It makes you look younger by giving you a healthy skin (6).
Since the topical application of the elecampane oil is studied to sensitize the skin and cause adverse skin reactions, use it only when prescribed.
5. Effective for dental care
Your oral health is the mirror of your general health. A majority of dental problems arise because of the lack of dental hygiene and unhealthy food habits.
However, the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of elecampane oil make it a perfect remedy for gum diseases
The elecampane essential oil is a part of many types of herbal mouthwashes. It is also believed that placing diluted oil on the gums helps to get rid of dangerous bacteria in the mouth.
6. Maintains respiratory health
According to Ayurveda, the Vata and Kapha Doshas rule the respiratory health. When the respiratory health goes out of balance, the whole immune system goes wrong.
Most individuals are susceptible to respiratory diseases during seasonal changes. That’s the time when you will find mucus and phlegm building up in the respiratory tract.
Elecampane root extracts were used to release the mucus build-up in the airways. The antitussive and decongestant properties of elecampane oil helps to remove frozen mucus in the respiratory tract.
7. Boost immune system
Wellness is not about living without any disease. It is about experiencing a child-like bliss and energy, each minute of your living. The immune system plays a significant role as a protector of human health.
You can boost the immune system with certain foods and techniques.
Elecampane essential oil comes as an immunostimulant. However, the right method to use the elecampane essential oil is debatable. Follow what your physician prescribes you (7).
8. Treats constipation & IBS
The traditional Tibetan medicine used a multi-component herbal laxative called Padma Lax to treat constipation and Irritable bowel syndrome. Ginger and elecampane essential oil were the chief components of this herbal medicine.
Scientists have studied its purgative and bowel-regulating properties and found the anti-proliferative property of Padma Lax and its components. Ginger and Elecampane were found to be the active components of Padma Lax in respect to its anti-proliferative property. It was reported that elecampane essential oil might be beneficial to prevent constipation-related cancer (8, 9).
9. Cures pulmonary tuberculosis
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is a contagious disease that destroys lung tissues. It starts from the lungs and may also spread to other parts of the body. Night sweats, chest pains, and cough are a few of the symptoms of TB.
Elecampane essential oil is believed to release phlegm in the respiratory tract, boosting the immune system and further, helping in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. It also prevents mucus build up in the respiratory tract and lungs (10).
10. Excellent diuretic
The main causes of diseases like high blood pressure, gout, etc. are excess water and salts in the body.
A few disorders like obesity and heart failure prevent proper blood circulation all over the body. It will, in turn, lead to a build-up of fluids in the body. These fluids contain water, uric acid, and salts which hinder the kidney functions.
Since elecampane essential oil is an excellent diuretic, it increases the quantity and frequency of the urination. Thus, removing excess water, uric acid, and salts via urine. (11)
What Blends With Elecampane Oil?
Elecampane oil blends the best with:
- Bergamot oil
- Cananga oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Cedarwood oil
- Cypress oil
- Frankincense oil
- Labdanum oil
- Lavender oil
- Mimosa oil
- Orris oil
- Patchouli oil
- Sandalwood oil
How To Use Elecampane Oil?
Elecampane is used as an adulterant of costus oil. The root extracts are used in many folk medicines. However, there is a lack of evidence on its therapeutic uses, making it difficult to comprehend the right method to use the oil (3).
Topical Application: Extremely severe allergic reactions have occurred in people due to topical application of Elecampane oil. Applying elecampane essential oil has a high risk of skin sensitization. It is best to avoid using the concentrated oil directly on your skin. It is crucial to dilute the oil before using. Use the diluted oil only when prescribed by a professional aromatherapist or a doctor.
Aromatherapy: International Fragrance Association (IFRA) recommends avoiding the elecampane essential oil as a fragrance ingredient due to its sensitizing nature. It is even prohibited in the European Union and Canada, as a fragrance ingredient.
Ingestion: Elecampane essential oil is strictly not for ingestion. Though there is not enough evidence and no information of toxicity found in the studies, it is always better to avoid the oral intake of the oil.
Side Effects Of Elecampane Oil
- Extremely severe allergic reactions have been studied in people who used elecampane essential oil. It is always best not to use the oil topically on your skin.
- Pregnant women should avoid using the oil or even inhaling the fragrance as it can cause skin sensitization.
- Do not use the oil unless prescribed by professional aromatherapists.
- The oil may cause vomiting, diarrhea, spasms, and sometimes – paralysis.