Latin Name: Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, Echinacea simulata, Echinacea laevigata, Echinacea atrorubens, Echinacea paradoxa, Echinacea tennesseensis, Echinacea sanguinea
Common Names: echinacea, purple coneflower, coneflower, American coneflower
Family Name: Asteraceae
Echinacea is a small flowering herbaceous plant native to eastern and central North America. The flowers are generally purple in color and bloom in summer. Echinacea was widely used by native americans as a medicinal plant. Archeological findings have shown that echinacea was used as long as 400 years ago generally to treat wounds and infections. The flower and the root of Echinacea are used. Only three of the nine echinacea species are used for medicinal purposes ( Echinacea angustifolia , Echinacea pallida , and Echinacea purpurea )
Chemical composition of Echinacea
Echinacea contains polysaccharides, glycoproteins, alkamides, volatile oils, and flavonoids. The roots contain high levels of volatile oils. Echinacea purpurea is said to have the most medicinal value.
Benefits of Echinacea
- Echinacea helps to stimulate the immune system and improve immunity
- Echinacea is used to treat colds and flu
- Echinacea helps to treat bladder and urinary tract infections
- Echinacea helps in wound healing
- Echinacea helps in treating candidiasis
- Echinacea helps in treating ear infections
Echinacea is available in the form of powder, tablets, capsules, tinctures, tea and balms.
For adults to stimulate the general immune system during colds, flu, upper respiratory tract infections, or bladder infections, one of the following forms should be taken three times a day. It is also important to follow manufacturer's recommendations:
- Echinacea Liquid extracts: one to five droppersful per use (0.5-5 ml.)
- Echinacea Capsules or tablets: 1/2 - 2 g per use three times a day
- Echinacea Powder: 300 mg of powdered extract containing 4% phenolics
- EchinaceaTea: 1/2 - 2 g per use three times a day,
- For slow-healing wounds, creams or ointments should be applied as needed.
It is recommended that Echinacea should be discontinued after 8 weeks of continued use and then taken again. A break is needed otherwise its effectiveness reduces.