In the Wild
*Also known as elf dock, elfwort, and inula
With long, lance-shaped leaves, elecampane’s erect stem grows three to six feet tall. Its bright flowers have tangled rays of petals, making them look like scraggly, yellow daisies or overgrown dandelions. They bloom from July to September. Elecampane can be found along roadsides, fields, clearings, and in waste areas.
While there are a number of theories about the Greek word inula in its genus name, sources agree that the Romans added campana to the name in reference to an area near Naples where it grew. Inula campana evolved into elecampane in English. The species name helenium is in reference to Helen of Troy. According to differing legends, she was either holding a sprig of this plant or elecampane flowers grew where her tears fell when Paris abducted her.
The Greeks and Romans used elecampane medicinally. In addition to its healing properties, the roots were used to make candied sweets during the Middle Ages. Elecampane has also been used as a flavoring for liqueurs, particularly absinthe and vermouth.
Sprinkle any part of the dried herb to create a protective circle before ritual or magic work, especially when doing love spells. Dried leaves burned with incense before divination enhances psychic abilities. Place sprigs of flowers on your altar to aid in contacting nature spirits.
Elecampane is associated with the element air. Its astrological influence comes from Mercury.
Figure 24. Elecampane is associated with the ogham Ebad.