Echinacea is one of the most top immune-enhancing herbs, helping to build immune system strength and to fight off disease and infection. In fact, many herbalists and natural medicine practitioners think its the most important immune-enhancing herb in Western medicine.
Extensive research, most of it done in Germany and other European countries, confirms that echinacea raises the body’s natural resistance to infection by stimulating and aiding immune function. It works by increasing macrophage and T-cell activity, the body’s first line of defense against foreign antigens. It’s also rich in polysaccharides, which help protect cells against invasion by viruses and bacteria. The antifungal and antibacterial properties make it an effective medicine against infections (source).
It is very potent, but safe, even young children and elderly can use it safely.
Echinacea is always more effective if taken at the early signs of an illness, rather in the middle when the illness has already settled in. As a tea or tincture, echinacea can be taken at the first signs of a cold or a flu to boost immune-system function (source).
Parts used: Roots, leaves, stems and flowers.
Echinacea root is very high in aluminum, cobalt, silicon, zinc, dietary fiber, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C.
It is commonly known as coneflower. It is easy to grow and grows to be strong and vigorous. It’s an annual herb that grows two or three feet tall. Echinacea loves full sun and warm weather. It is native to Appalachia and the Midwest. It is easy for this plant to adapt to any soil and even a drought season.
When choosing dried echinacea, avoid wild-harvested echinacea unless you know and trust your source to be responsible and ethical. There has been a huge demand the past few decades and echinacea is being endangered in its wild habitats. The good news is you can find organically cultivated sources like the Bulk Herb Store.
History and Folklore
As American settlers moved west in the early 1800’s they discovered Native Americans who chewed on the root, swallowing the juice for relief of respiratory issues. The Native Americans also considered it an aphrodisiac and analgesic of sorts which gave them more courage, stamina and tolerance to pain.