Scientific: Echinacea angustifolia, E. purpurea, E. pallida [WikiPedia]
Appearance: Echinacea is a tall perennial with lance-like leaves about 15cm long Purple-pink, daisy-like flowers that smell like honey, with orange-brown centres, are produced in summer to early autumn.
Parts Used: Roots, rhizomes and parts above the ground
Common Uses: There are nine Echinacea species which have been discovered so far, three of which are used for medicinal purposes: E. purpurea, E. angustifolia, and E. pallida. Echinacea is now utilized as a preventative and treatment remedy for influenza, the common cold, and minor upper respiratory infections.
Echinacea is probably the most commonly used herb in the Western World. This herb is used to prevent and treat colds, infections and as an herbal remedy for flu. The three active constituents are alkamides, chicoric acid and polysaccharides; however, the action of these ingredients is still being understood. What useful evidence there is indicates that echinacea mainly stimulates phagocytosis, i.e it acts mainly to stimulate the immune response. Echinacea has been used to treat prophylaxis, gingivitis, sinusitis. It has also been utilized as a treatment of infectious illness such as influenza, colds and related symptoms like coughs, high fever and sore throat. It is also used for bacterial infections, above all those of a chronic or recurrent nature. The herb is thought to be of help for allergies, mild septicaemia, pinkeye and skin disorders such as psoriasis. It has been used as an herbal remedy to strengthen the immune system and to treat conditions of damaged or suppressed immunity such as post-viral syndromes.
During the early 1900’s, Germany was the first to used Echinacea as an herbal medicine. Echinacea has been used traditionally for the natural treatment of bronchitis and whooping cough. They have recently begun researching the effects of Echinacea while advocating its ability to stimulate the human immune system and ward off infections.
Alternatives and Adjuncts:
Topic Specific Research:
- Echinacea – Side Effects and Health Benefits [Ref]
- Echinacea [Ref]
- Echinacea Medicinal Uses [Ref]
- Herbal medicine in children with respiratory tract infection: systematic review and meta-analysis. (PubMED) [Ref]
- Echinacea purpurea-derived alkylamides exhibit potent anti-inflammatory effects and alleviate clinical symptoms of atopic eczema. (PubMED) [Ref]
- Antioxidant, Antidiabetic, and Antihypertensive Properties of Echinacea purpurea Flower Extract and Caffeic Acid Derivatives Using In Vitro Models. (PubMED) [Ref]
PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.