April 24, 2017

Rays of Sunshine

Inula helenium - Elecampane

Janine Pineo Photo | Inula helenium – Elecampane

Elecampane

Janine Pineo Photo | Elecampane

Inula helenium has a couple of millennia in its history, so it is with little wonder that part of its name, helenium, refers to Helen of Troy. It is said that elecampane sprang up where her tears fell, presumably over her abduction and that whole Trojan War debacle. Elecampane is a perennial herb that has naturalized in the United States, although it is thought its roots are in Eurasia. If its height of up to 8 feet didn’t give it away, then the sunshine-yellow rays that make up its flowers should point directly to the plant family that includes sunflowers. It has many medicinal qualities employed over the centuries, and more recently has been touted for its high concentration of inulin, which has become increasingly popular as an ingredient in processed foods because it has little impact on blood sugar. Another use has been in the making of the storied and vilified absinthe, that highly alcoholic drink made from botanicals.

Inula helenium - Elecampane

Janine Pineo Photo | Inula helenium – Elecampane