Echinacea is a very popular anti-infective herb, first used by American Indians.
To the eastern part of the US, this plant was known as “Missouri snakeroot” were both echinacea root and leaves were used for healing wounds.
Today with its beautiful purple-colored flowers, echinacea (there are nine species of echinacea) is well appreciated and also used around the world for treating a broad range of infections especially minor colds, and as an immune-system stimulant.
Echinacea (Echinacea augustifolia) also known as “Coneflower” has anti-allergenic actions, it is an immune stimulant and it has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, fungicidal, detoxifying, bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Echinacea roots are the most potent part of the plant. However, both flowers and seeds are beneficial and also used in herbal medicine.
In some studies, it has been confirmed that echinacea is effective against the common cold or upper respiratory tract infections. For example, when using echinacea: cough, sore throat or fever are reduced significantly especially if taking the plant when symptoms first appear. This is possible because echinacea flowers, specifically roots, stimulate the immune system to help fight disease. Here are a few other benefits of using echinacea:
- Stimulates immune function
- Excellent when having common cold, viral influenza infection, bacterial sinusitis
- It has anti-fungul, antiviral anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral activity
- Can be used as a treatment for snake bites
- Good for colic problems
- Help treats infections
- Enhance wound healing allergies, acne and abscesses
How To Use Echinacea
Echinacea can be found from health food shops packaged as a tea, extract, mixed with other herbs or as a cream / ointment used externally.
- Echinacea cream can be used on infected cuts, acne and skin sores.
- Echinacea leaves can be used as a tea if having chills, influenza, or common cold. All you need to do is make 1 cup of echinacea tea (one or two tsp fresh leaves of echinacea per cup) and drink it 2-3 times a day.
- Echinacea root can be used as a mouthwash or to gargle if having a sore throat, mouth ulcers or tonsillitis.
- Echinacea tincture is excellent for boosting your immune system.
Please note: high doses can cause nausea.