Echinacea

Echinacea, What Is Echinacea, Echinacea Benefits

Echinacea augustifolia, E. purpurea, E. pa/lida Asteraceae/Compositae Also called Coneflower.


A plant if the North American plains, echinacea was used by native Americans to treat wounds and snakebites. TOday, three species if the perennial herb are cultivated for medicinal purposes. Echinacea has a long }lowering season and is a pretty and popular garden plant.


Parts used

  • Roots and flowers
  • The root is more widely used than the flowers.
  • Roots are obtained from plants that are at least four years old; flowers are collected when fully open.
  • The root is cylindrical and scarred. It has a faint aromatic smell and tastes at first sweet, then bitter.
  • Echinacea is used for tinctures, extracts and powders, both on its own or combined with other plants.

Constituents

The root contains a volatile oil, polysaccharides, resins - whose antiseptic and antifungal actions stimulate the immune system - and antibacterial and antiviral glucosides.


Medicinal uses

Echinacea is an effective remedy for influenza, colds, upper respiratory tract infections, genitourinary infections and other diseases. It is widely used to combat the common cold: it restores the body to health quickly while helping the immune system to fight off other infections.


In 2002, Canadian scientists showed that, in vitro, echinacea was an effective antiviral agent against herpes simplex. In 1988, German researchers discovered that the herb produced a noticeable increase in phagocytosis, a process by which foreign bodies are engulfed by the body's immune cells.


Echinacea strengthens the body's immune system and increases resistance to infection, particularly to influenza. This makes the herb especially useful for those with weakened immune systems. It may, therefore, be valuable as a supplementary treatment when the immune system is suppressed by drugs, for example, as a result of anticancer chemotherapy. However, this should only be considered in consultation with a doctor.


PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

For internal use


TO TREAT colds, sore throat, influenza, bronchitis


CAPSULES (32Smg) Take 1-3 capsules a day with a glass of water before meals.
As a preventive measure to keep infection from taking hold Take 2 capsules a day.
TINCTURE (1:S in 4S% alcohol) Take 15 drops in water three times a day.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR


Cultivation

Plant in a sunny spot in rich, well-drained soil.


CAUTIONS

  • Talk to your doctor before taking echinacea if you have an autoimmune illness such as lupus, or a progressive disease such as multiple sclerosis or tuberculosis
  • If you are allergic to flowers of the daisy family, you may be allergic to echinacea as well.
  • Do not use to replace prescribed treatments: antibiotics and other medicines may be needed, too.
  • No toxic properties or adverse side effects have been reported to date. . Prolonged use weakens the herb's beneficial effect.


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