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MEET THE HERB (part 1) 'Tis The Season.....To Take Elecampane


(part 1)

Tis The Season….To Take Elecampane


     People going past the Apothecary will often stop and look in the window. Often their faces will light up with recognition of herb names or living plants that are presented there in various forms. However, after a brief glance, many will quickly move on because they are not familiar with the usage of the numerous herbs whose names they are confronted with.

     It is the goal of these new series of blogs to begin to bridge that gap in knowledge and bring you into an understanding of some of the herbs prescribed by herbalist, and in what conditions

     People regularly come into the Apothecary with the question “what herb would you recommend for…..” and then name a condition they have.

     As a holistic herbalist it is first important to make a determination as to whether the condition they are experiencing is an acute one (a “one off” as it were) or a recurring chronic one.

     If the condition is recurring, then it is chronic and in itself an expression (symptom) of a deeper underlying condition, the cause of which needs to be investigated and resolved. This process will require that I book you an appointment so that we can make a holistic exploration into all areas of that individual’s life and chronology of developments to determine what set them on a disease path.

     In the case of an acute expression I often have in stock remedies that I make to resolve a number of common conditions. If my stocked remedies do not meet the profile requirements, then I am happy to mix up something more specific

     At this time of year I am approached for more and more cold remedies. The nature of the remedies that are used must reflect our understanding of what a cold actually is and then support the natural process necessary for the body to regain its equilibrium.

     Elecampane is a perfect addition to many chronic and acute cold remedies.

     Like many herbs of a similar floral expression, Elecampane has an affinity with the sun and the element of fire. It embodies the properties of this element and employs them in the cold and stagnation often associated with colds.

     Essentially, Elecampane is specific for lung conditions, be they old or new

     Elecampane is a warming herb, and as such stimulates antispasmodic, expectorant, diaphoretic, anticatarrhal and antiseptic actions, among others.

     I find it particularly good where there is hard congestion that needs to be softened and expelled.

     One of the advantages of herbs is that a single herb can have many actions and influence numerous organs and systems at the same time. They can also be combined to create a remedy that is tailored for the needs of a specific patient profile.

     In an acute cold, Elecampane is combined with such herbs as Elderflowers or Yarrow, to enhance its diaphoretic action. Colds are seen, by natural practitioners, as a means your body uses to expel toxins and regain balance and health. Herbs that support the body in this process ( diaphoretics, expectorants etc) like Elecampane, are well employed.

     In chronic conditions of the chest, herbalists may combine Elecampane with Ribwort or Horsetail as part of an attempt to sooth and influence the repair of long overtaxed lungs. In such combinations I have seen impressive changes over time. 

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