Echinacea boosts a person’s immunity system because of its ability to activate white blood cells, increase killer T-cell production, inhibit tumor growth, and increase interferon levels. You can take it internally or apply to externally to fight off bacterial infections. It enhances wound healing by augmenting growth of healthy new connective tissue. It helps speed up the healing process, lower fevers and reduce allergic reactions. It is observed to be effective in fighting infectious conditions, such as flu, herpes, the common cold, and other respiratory infections. Echinacea stimulates the nervous system as well. It is also used on skin problems, such as boils and acne.
Common Name of Herb: Echinacea
Latin Name: Echinacea augustifolia or Echinacea purpurea
Parts Used: The roots, rhizome, flowers, and seeds
Actions: For internal and external use. Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and immune modulating.
Preparation and Use: Echinacea can be used fresh or dried to make juice, extracts, and tea. You can freeze dry echinacea to use it in a tincture or extract. Take 2 or more droppersful of the tincture, three or more times daily, especially at the onset of illness. Tincture may be added to tea to increase the strength. Add 5% garlic tincture and 5% cayenne tincture to increase effectiveness.
Cautions and Limitations of Use:
- Large doses of echinacea may cause stomach upset, nausea or dizziness.
- If you are regularly taking other medicines or if you have an auto-immune disorder, such as lupus or multiple sclerosis, check with your doctor before taking echinacea. Echinacea may interact with drugs and reduce their effectiveness or cause unwanted side effects. The effect of echinacea on auto-immune disorders is inconsistent and should be monitored by a professional if tried.
- Caution for all herbs and foods: Stop using if you experience symptoms of allergy. Seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives. Some people who are allergic to plants in the daisy family (which includes marigolds, daisies, chrysanthemums, and ragweed) are found to be allergic to echinacea as well, possibly due to the pollen proteins.
- If in doubt about the safety of any herb, consult a doctor with special knowledge and experience with herbs.
· Constituents: Alkamides, polysaccharides, and caffeic acid derivatives (caffeic acid, chichoric acid, caftaric acid, echinoside, and chlorogenic acid.
· How to Gather: The roots and the above-ground parts of the plant can be gathered from early to late summer.
· Other English Common Names: Purple coneflower, American coneflower, coneflower
· Other Language Common Names: Sonnenhüte (Ger)
· Where it grows: It is native to central and eastern North America.
· How to identify: The leaves of the Echinacea are elliptical. Its flowers are purple florets arranged in a cone shaped head.