Herbal Education: Echinacea

February 20, 2019 Camille Wilcox

Echinacea is one of the most widely recognized and used herbs in American folk herbalism. A simple flowering plant and a member of the daisy family, Echinacea is easily grown by even beginner gardeners. If you're planning to make this lovely, long-blooming flower part of your herb garden, keep in mind that there are nine species of Echinacea that are native to the United States and southern Canada. The sub-species preferred for herbal therapy are Echinacea purpurea or Echinacea angustifolia.

Many studies have been done on the immune-stimulating properties of Echinacea, and have shown over and over that Echinacea reduces the likelihood of getting a common cold by over half, and reduces the duration of colds by over a day on average! 

As with any plant, the chemical makeup of Echinacea is inconsistent throughout the entire plant. For example, the root is contains powerful anti-inflammatory and immune supportive compounds that are most effective at treating colds & flu. On the other hand, the leaf and flower portions of the plant may be useful to stimulate and strengthen the immune system over a longer period of time (as in a daily dose during the winter months). Any way you choose to use it, Echinacea is an incredible herb and a powerful tool against illness! 

At the first sign of illness, taking Echinacea may reduce the severity and duration of colds and flus. It is more effective when used in conjunction with other immune-supportive herbs, as in our Bio Defense, Propolis Plus, or Immune Strengthen formulas. The antimicrobial properties and mild flavor of Echinacea make it ideal for treating canker sores, cold sores and gingivitis by swishing with Echinacea tea. Echinacea is also often used as an effective treatment for yeast infections, thrush, and systemic candidiasis. 

Those with autoimmune diseases or those taking Immunosuppressants should only take Echinacea under the close supervision of their health care provider. 

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