(echinacea purpurea, echinacea angustifolia, echinacea pallida)
Echinacea, or purple coneflower is a herb native to North America. It has been used by the American Indians for wound healing and snake bites for many centuries. There are 3 mains species used medicinally which have very similar properties. The root and/or the above-ground part of the plant during the flowering growth phase are used in herbal medicine.
What it does
Echinacea contains many compounds including alkyamides, caffeic acid esters, poylsaccharides, polyacetylenes, volatile oils, echinolone, betaine and alkaloids. Echinacea elevates white blood cell count, and activity, enhances antibody activity, speeds migration of white blood cells to areas of infection, boosts interferon activity and inhibits hyaluronidase (an enzyme that allows pathogenic organisms to become more invasive). The herb also has anti-inflammatory and tissue regenerating properties.
|Bacterial infections||Immune Support||Arthritis|
Echinacea is about the best known immune boosting herb and you can take it continually for long periods with no negative effects. It has been suggested that it works better if you take if for 3 weeks, have a break for 2 weeks then take it again for 3 weeks and so on.
It is often recommended by herbalists to help regulate the immune system in auto-immune disease and during chemotherapy treatment.
Echinacea in tincture form at a suitably reduced level is available for children.
Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using echinacea.
At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with echinacea.