KONUZA, Defined

κόνυζα, -ης (ἡ) – describes various species of inula and fleabane

Konuza is the ancient Greek word for Inula, a large genus of about 90 species of flowering plants of the Asteraceae family – which also includes the daisy and dandelion. One of the species of the Inula genus includes the Common Fleabane, but the ancient Greek word likely more commonly referred to Inula Helenium, aka elecampane. Inula Helenium is named after Helen of Troy, because it said to have sprung up wherever her tears fell.

Inula Helenium has been considered a healing plant at least since Classical Antiquity. In the Hippocratic Corpus (mid 5th century BC), it was prescribed in wine, together with Castoreum (the secretion from a beaver’s castor glands), to women suffering from various gynecological ailments. Pliny the Elder mentions it as both a medicine and a condiment (19.29).

Bibliography
Schubert, C./U. Huttner 1999 (eds.), Frauenmedizin in der Antike: griechisch/lateinisch/deutsch, Düsseldorf/Zürich, pp. 232-233, 238-239, 244-245.

 

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