Family ► Compositae; Asteraceae.
Habitat ► Temperate and Alpine Himalayas from Chitral to Nepal at 1,500-4,200 m.
English ► Elecampane.
Ayurvedic ► Pushkaramuula, Pushkara, Paushkara, Padmapatra, Kaashmira, Kushtha-bheda.
Action ► Antispasmodic, stomachic, antihistaminic, expectorant, anticatarrhal. Used for asthma, chronic bronchitis and pulmonary disorders.
Key application ► Inula helenium— as expectorant. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)
Roots are used in Kashmir as adulterant of Saussurea lappa.
The root contains a volatile oil, about 1-4%; major constituents being in-ulin (10.0) and sesquiterpene lactones, mainly alantolactone, isoalantolactone and their dihydro derivatives. Alan-tolactone and others in the mixture known as helenalin (sesquiterpene lactones) are toxic constituents of the root.
Alantolactone is anti-inflammatory in animals and has been shown to stim ulate the immune system. It is also hy-potensive and anthelmintic in animals; antibacterial and antifungal in vitro It irritates mucous membranes. It is used as an anthelmintic in Europe and UK.
Plant extract showed potent an-tispasmodic effect against bronchial spasm induced by histamine and various plant pollens.
The root, when combined with Commiphora mukul gum-resin, acts as a hypolipidaemic agent, exhibits beta-blocking activity and beneficial effect in myocardial ischaemia.
The roots also exhibit sedative and blood pressure lowering activity.
The European species is equated with Inula helenium Linn.
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