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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 tall plant has large, pointed leaves with downy gray undersides, and yellow summer flowers. Elecampane is said to enhance psychic abilities and works involving scrying, as well as being one part of a nine herb bath blend that is said to impart protection from witches.
Roots and rhizomes dug from 2- to 3-year-old plants, dried and cut.
Usually taken as a tea. 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.
Persons with allergies to other members of the Asteraceae family (such as feverfew, chamomile, or Echinacea) should exercise caution as a potential allergen. Large doses may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and cramping.