Growing and harvesting
The photos below of the Elecampane growing are from July 29, 2022. The Elecampane (yellow flowers) was getting so freaking tall. It was in a raised bed about a foot off the ground, but the plant itself got to be at least 8 feet tall. I couldn't take a video of the butterflies all over the top of it - I couldn't reach it! 😊
Elecampane (Inula helenium) is also known as Elfwort or Horseheal and is in the sunflower family. I make an herbal remedy from the roots - usually drunk in a tea, but I might make a tincture with these, haven't decided yet. Just the tea alone is very good for coughs. You can read a very good description of Elecampane here. It’s been used for centuries.
Later, now it is September: It took awhile to dig those roots out, they are super gnarly and big!
I left little bits of root in the ground, spaced around the bed, covered with compost and leaves - next summer it will start a new 2-year cycle:
Update later: I decided not to make a tincture with the roots, mostly because I had so much tincture already going for other medicinals.
So instead, I decided to chop it while it was still choppable. Once most roots get dried they become rock-hard, so I have to do it while still pliable - but it’s still hard work! Once that chore was done, then I spread it out to dry on a big screen (for the air circulation - it dries really well out in our covered, screened porch), and then I saved it in jars to make tea with. Here’s one of them, next to some St John’s Wort and Reishi on my shelf now: