Athelas, also known as Kingsfoil or Asëa Aranion, was a healing herb that grew throughout Middle-earth.


Athelas was first brought to Middle-earth by Númenóreans, but by the end of the Third Age the knowledge of its healing properties was lost among all but the Rangers of the North and the Elves, and it was commonly considered by most men and hobbits to be a useless weed.[1] According to folklore in Gondor, it was especially powerful in the hands of the king. It was used by Aragorn when he secretly entered Minas Tirith upon his return to Gondor to heal those (such as Frodo) who had been touched by the Black Breath, an act that enhanced his reputation and strengthened his claim to the crown.[2] The rhyme of Gondorian lore about athelas went as follows:

When the Black Breath blows
and death's shadow grows
and all lights pass,
come athelas! Come athelas!
Life to the dying
In the king's hand lying!

Aragorn also used Athelas to ease the pain of Frodo's wound when he was stabbed by a Morgul-blade at the Weathertop camp. The scent of the leaves also calmed the minds of the other Hobbits.[1] Additionally, athelas was used after Moria when Aragorn tended to Frodo and Sam's injuries.[3] After the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Aragorn used Athelas in The Houses of Healing to revive Faramir, Lady Éowyn, and the hobbit Merry, who were all under the shadow of the Black Breath.[2]

Some Men of Gondor used an infusion of Athelas for headaches.


The term Athelas consists of the Sindarin terms athaya ("helpful, beneficial") and lass ("leaf"). In Quenya, the term lasse also means "leaf".

In other languages: the Anglosaxon æðele ("noble") and the Old French foil ("leaf").

Other versions of the legendarium

Athelas was also used by Huan and Lúthien to heal wounded Beren, according to the early Lay of Leithian. This contradicts the information from The Lord of the Rings of it being brought to Middle-earth by Númenóreans, so it was either changed by Tolkien in later versions of his legendarium, or else Athelas had grown in Beleriand before it was destroyed, and then brought back to Middle-earth by Númenóreans in the Second Age.

Other mentions in literature

Kingsfoil is also mentioned in Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea, as one of the herbs in the witch of Gont's hut.


Foreign Language Translated name
Arabic اثيلاس
Armenian Աթէլաս
Belarusian Cyrillic Ацэлас
Bengali অথেলাস
Bulgarian Cyrillic Ателас (Athelas)

Кралски лист (Kingsfoil)

Georgian ათელასი
Greek Αθέλας
Gujarati એથેલાસ
Hebrew אתילאס (Athelas)

עשבת המלך (Kingsfoil)

Hindi अथ्ऐलस
Kannada ಅಥೆಲಾಸ್
Kazakh Ателас (Cyrillic) Atelas (Latin)
Korean 아 헬라스 ?
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Атэлас
Macedonian Cyrillic Ателас
Malayalam അഥേലസ്
Marathi एथेलस
Mongolian Cyrillic Атэлас
Persian اتهال ?
Punjabi ਅਥੇਲਸ
Russian Ацелас
Sanskrit आथेलस्
Serbian Ателас (Cyrillic) Atelas (Latin)
Sinhalese ඇතලස්
Tajik Cyrillic Ателас
Tamil அதெலஸ்
Telugu అథెలాస్
Turkish Atelas (Athelas)

Kralfoyası (Kingsfoil)

Ukrainian Cyrillic Ацелас
Urdu اٹہیلہس
Yiddish אַטהעלאַס


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Ch. XII: "Flight to the Ford"
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Ch. VIII: "The Houses of Healing"
  3. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Ch. VI: "Lothlórien"
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