Echinacea: Nature’s Immune Enhancer
For centuries, Native American Indians used echinacea, or purple cone flower, for healing wounds, curing colds and as a painkiller. In holistic healing and herbal medicine (humanity’s first and only “real medicine”), it is highly prized for its healing properties. It is an effective immune system booster and its ability to fight off disease and infection make echinacea invaluable for healing many “dis-eases.” Countless herbalists and natural medicine practitioners agree it is the most important immune-enhancing herb in Western medicine.
Making a Comeback
Once destined for obscurity, echinacea is making a comeback. The American Botanical Council reports, “Sales of herbal dietary supplements in the United States has reached six billion dollars. With echinacea sales now a $28 million industry. Imagine, safe and effective medicine without dozens of harmful side effects at a fraction of the cost! The way it used to be.
Science Confirms Echinacea’s Effectiveness
According to the American Botanical Council, almost all of the scientific research conducted on this medicinal plant has been done in Germany where echinacea products have long been sold over the counter as immune system stimulants. German pediatricians, convinced of echinacea’s effectiveness, recommend it almost daily.
Echinacea, similar to other God-given plant medicines, contains nutrients the human body needs to prevent and heal “dis-orders.”
In a government study published in the National Institutes of Health, researchers noted, “…Echinacea consumption, the virus-induced stimulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines can be effectively reversed or alleviated.”
Health Benefits of Echinacea
Bronchial & respiratory infection
Cold prevention and treatment
Immune system builder
Echinacea Tea for Healing
Whether its a store-bought tea (use organic only) or you make your own, drink some when you feel a cold coming on or to help speed healing of existing infections. Echinacea will stimulate your body’s own healing mechanism and is regarded as safe for children and the elderly. Allergies to echinacea are rare, however, they can occur. See note below.
Make Your Own Tea
Chop one flower head of E.purpurea and chop finely. Place the pieces in a tea bag or tea pot. Pour boiled, pure water over your herbs and steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Recommended use is 2 cups per day.
Due to echinacea’s popularity, some species have been pushed to near extinction. Be mindful, do not collect it from the wild. Conserve and protect this valuable herbal medicine for future generations.
Growing & Harvesting Echinacea
Native to Appalachia (region in the E. United States stretching from Southern New York to N. Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi) and the Midwest.
My stand of Echinacea (e. purpurea and e. agustifolia) back in Minnesota did quite well with little attention. I started with roots and within a few years had more than enough to harvest and share with friends.
Echinacea is available as seed or root. Plant in full sun except where summers are very hot. Tolerates poor, dry soil once established.
Pick fresh flowers at their peak and lay on a screen or tray. Set in a dark place with good air circulation. Store in a clear glass jar when flowers are completely dry.
Allergies can occur. If you get a scratchy throat, itchy eyes or ears, a runny nose or other signs of allergy, discontinue use.
Choose a reputable company when purchasing an echinacea supplement or bulk product. Supplements are NOT created equal. Cheap brands may be ineffective, harmful and a waste of money.
The Herb Research Foundation suggests echinacea loses its effectiveness with long-term use and should be used for a maximum period of 6-8 weeks of continued use.
And its fruit shall be for food and its leaf for medicine
DISCLAIMER: Please remember these treatments options are only meant as guidelines and should not replace the advice or treatment provided by your holistic health practitioner. It is always good to seek the advice of your functional medicine doctor, homeopath, naturopath, or herbalist for professional advice in any matter related to your health. This article is for information purposes only.
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