Echinacea purpurea Benefits

Echinacea purpurea
Latin Name

Echinacea Purpurea

Also Known As

Narrow-leaved purple coneflower, Sampson root, Black Sampson, Red sunflower, Echinacea


Native to Eastern and Central North America

Parts Used

Roots, leaves and flowers of the plant

Traditional Use and Health Benefits
Echinacea is widely respected as "THE remedy for colds and flu." It is a major immune booster that helps the body combat all types of infection. Its anti-bacterial character means it is effective against bacteria and viral attacks. It is a botanical anti- biotic and immune system stimulant, and is recommended as a daily tonic, especially during winter.   It is known to stimulate the white blood cells at the area of infection and contains echinacein, a substance that keeps the invaders out of the bodies tissues; it also increases the production of interferon which boosts the cells ability to fight infection.   After a history of much controversy and many tests, including double blind studies, it has proved itself time and time again is to be helpful in:  Septicaemia, Boils, Conditions of the upper respiratory tract, Tonsillitis,  Laryngitis,  Septic sores and cuts, Bladder infections, Cystitis, Wound healing, Skin repair,Cuts and burns. Echinacea is anti-microbial and alterative.
Typical Use
Made with fresh Herb, take 1-4ml up to 3 times per day,    Echinacea Cut Flower Tops: 1-2 teasp per cup hot water up to 3 times per day,  or as recommended by a herbal practitioner.
Folklore and History

Echinacea was the primary medicine of the North American Indians. They used root poltices for wounds, bites, stings, and snakebite. They gargled in for teeth and sore gums, and drank decoctions of it for colds, smallpox, measles, mumps and arthritis. Although it was adopted by settlers it remained a folk remedy until it was patented by Dr H C F Meyer as a blood purifier, and ultimate cure for rattlesnake bite. This was a tall claim however, Echinacea went on to be accepted by the North American Herbalists of the 1900's for many of the same properties it had been used for in traditional Native folklore medicine.

Echinacea purpurea
The constituents of echinacea include essential oil, polysaccharides, polyacetylenes, betain, glycoside, sesquiterpenes and caryophylene. It also contains copper, iron, tannins, protein, fatty acids and vitamins A C and F. The most important immune-stimulating components are the large polysaccharides, such as inulin, that increase the production of T-cells and increase other natural killer cell activity. Fat-soluble alkylamides and a caffeic acid glycoside called echinacoside also contribute to the herb's immune empowering effects. 

Echinacea is essentially nontoxic when taken orally. People should not take echinacea without consulting a herball practitioner if they have an autoimmune illness, such as lupus, or other progressive diseases, such as tuberculosis or multiple sclerosis. Those who are allergic to flowers of the daisy family should take echinacea with caution. There are no known contra-indications to the use of echinacea during pregnancy or lactation.