Tuesday, December 16, 2008


watercolour 9 x 12

At the end of summer I did this quick sketch in watercolour of an elecampane plant that is thriving at the edge of the vegetable field, mostly due to having its feet in a large mound of manure! It is from the sunflower family and produces clusters of small yellow flowers in later summer. This particular plant when in flower is about 6 feet tall and perhaps 4 feet across. Its very impressive.

I am a herbalist and rely on plants for many of my OTC substitutes. The fields hold about 50+ medicinal herbs which also are culinary in some instances too. However elecampane is one of my favourites and a standby for coughs in the winter. There are many other plants that can soothe sore throats and coughs as well and many are found in your kitchen cupboards. Some time ago I wrote an article on creating a herbal first aid kit from common plants in gardens and kitchens. I must dig it out again and share it.
In herbal medicine it is chiefly used for coughs, consumption and other pulmonary complaints, being a favourite domestic remedy for bronchitis. It has been employed for many years with good results in chest affections, for which it is a valuable medicine as it is in all chronic diseases of the lungs asthma and bronchitis. It gives relief to the respiratory difficulties and assists expectoration. Its principal employment as a separate remedy is in acute catarrhal affections, and in dyspepsia attended with relaxation and debility, given in small, warm and frequently repeated doses.


Anita said...

This reminds me of botanical drawings - which I have always loved. I too am a great believer in the alternatives. Nature has so much that is hidden from us. Do you take this as a tisane?

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Could you please post me some! I'm having a perfectly frightful time with this nasty cold which won't let go of my respiratory system.

I do like it when you write about your herbal interests.

Jeanette said...

My time on this was cut short as it started to rain when I did it. And yes, usually as a tisane. Sometimes I make it into a tincture then add to water.

Poor you Katherine, nothing worse than things like that which linger on is there?

Thyme or hyssop may work for you. Thyme is antispasmodic and antibacterial. It was the original treatment for whooping cough.

Hyssop has similar properties to thyme and is an expectorant so you would likely need a soothing herb to go with it such as marshmallow.