Elecampane is known primarily as a respiratory tonic, and is used to ease breathing in cases of asthma and bronchitis. The root is the part used medicinally, and it's chemical constituents helenalin, helenin, and inulin have been shown to have expectorant and antiseptic properties that support its traditional uses. Inula also contains a volatile compound, alantolactone, in the oil that has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Traditional Chinese Medicine In China, the native species of elecampane is called Hsuan-Fu-Hua. Chinese herbalists use elecampane root to treat pulmonary disorders, asthma and bronchitis.