Echinacea Uses and Benefits

10 Reasons Echinacea is the King of Purifiers

Over the last 20 years, I've watched herbal remedies surged in popularity. People everywhere are looking for alternatives to pharmaceuticals. For me, it's a matter of wanting to avoid synthetic chemicals made in a lab, while others experience side effects from certain drugs. This post will cover Echinacea uses and benefits and show you how to make an Echinacea decoction.
One of the first herbs that became a part of my herbal medicine chest is echinacea. My first year studying Ayurveda I came down with an upper respiratory tract infection, so one of my teachers suggested I take Echinacea. To my amazement, I rebounded pretty quickly. After that experience, my confidence in herbs and natural remedies skyrocketed. 

What Is Echinacea?

Echinacea comes from a flowering plant called the Coneflower. It resembles the common daisy and is a member of the same family. This perennial plant can live for as many as 5 or 6 years and can grow to be as tall as 4 feet.
The flowers are usually pink or purple flowers with a more substantial multicolored center cone that holds the seeds. There are about nine different types of wild coneflower on several different continents.
One of the exciting things about the wild coneflower is that it doesn't have any distinct smell unless it's pollinated. After pollination people say, the flower has a scent somewhat like vanilla. Some types of echinacea have slightly different attributes than others.

History of This Powerful Herb

Echinacea uses and benefits

Native American people discovered Echinacea after noticing animal wounds healed faster when they ate coneflowers.
Over time, they experimented with Echinacea by extracting juices from the flower to treat various illness. For example, they noticed conditions like coughs, infections, and open wounds like snake bites all healed much faster.
They passed this knowledge to Europeans when they came to the continent, and as time passed, the settlers began using the herb as a medical staple.
Today, healthcare professionals use Echinacea as an immune support supplement. Scientists have put an enormous amount of work into cross-breeding the plant and creating new varieties. Some have even produced variations that can have a fragrance before pollination.

The Energetics of Echinacea

Echinacea is bitter, pungent and cooling. In Ayurvedic medicine, it reduces Pitta and Kapha, but increases Vata Dosha.

It is an alterative (blood cleanser), antibiotic, carminative (prevents gas), and stimulant.

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Echinacea Uses and Benefits

Uses of Echinacea

Studies of Echinacea reveal it contains plenty of natural chemicals to aid the healing processes. These chemicals include alkamides, polysaccharides, and glycoproteins.
These tiny nutrients can help provide you with an easy source of accessible nutrition that your body can use for healing.
Another factor helps this process are phenols, which are antioxidant in nature. When the anti-inflammatory parts of the plant interact with wounds, the swelling makes it easier for the body to repair itself. This is because the purpose of inflammation of to protect the wound until healing is safe to take place.
Echinacea stimulates the body's immune system against all infectious and inflammatory conditions, counteracts puss, and stiumlates digestion. It is one of the most powerful and effective remedies against all kinds of bacterial and viral infections.
In summary, taking a healing herb like Echinacea:
  • The herb can kill harmful agents surrounding the injury
  • Bring down inflammation
  • Use its nutrients to rebuild to the damaged area.

Benefits of Echinacea

With hundreds of years of use and experimentation, the benefits of echinacea have become validated by science.

1. Reduces Pain

One of the most overlooked qualities of echinacea is its ability to stop the pain. The two best ways to use echinacea for pain relief is to either make a tea from the plant or apply it topically to the area affected.
Native people learned they could chew the plant or drink tea to reduce toothaches. Then their use for pain relief began to extend beyond dental application. They used Echinacea to treat all sorts of injuries, like snake bites and pain associated with venereal diseases.

2. Immune Support

The most common way people use echinacea is for immune support. Usually found in pill form, you can buy these supplements over the counter. But, it's debatable what percentages are in each supplement. Many brands come in gel caps, and companies sometimes cut their purity by adding fillers. For this reason, it's preferable to ingest the plant in a tea to get the most significant benefits that come from echinacea.
Those who regularly consume echinacea experience colds and flu for about half of the length of most people. It also reduces the severity and chances of getting colds.

3. Detoxifying Agent

Echinacea is one of the best detoxifying agents in western herbalism. It helps the body rid itself of microbial infections and it is effective against both bacterial and viral attacks. It does this not so much by killing these organisms, but by supporting your immunity.
Echinacea is a natural anti-microbial and antibiotic. It works to fight the effects of most poisons in your body by cleansing the lymph and blood.

4. Kills Infections

Another way that echinacea is a great ally to your immune system, is that it can fight off infections. When microorganisms get into the body, a weak immune system could expose you to the possibility of being overrun with illness. Echinacea helps the body by killing these agents, and serious viral infections. It can’t eliminate these viruses, but it can keep them low enough to reduce symptoms caused by these illnesses.

5. It Can Reduce Inflammation

One of the most important parts of healing the body is the reduction of inflammation. This part of the process protects the wound while it heals or until you take action to heal the area. Echinacea can take down the painful swelling that can work against you in the need to speed up the healing process.

6. It Can Fight Cancer

A benchmark of a great healing plant is its ability to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Given that echinacea does both, it should be no surprise that it can protect you against other serious illnesses. Cancer thrives in damaged areas of the body.
The stress placed on your DNA can cause anomalies, tumors, and cancers in the body because the damaged DNA is unable to construct organs properly. These destructive malformations can spread resulting in severe damage and death. Ingesting echinacea helps to help your body protect itself from these genetic issues.

7. Helps Your Skin

Few people think of the skin an organ, but it is one of the largest organs in the body. As you go through life, you're exposed to a massive amount of pollution, and irritants from every side. Skin is sensitive, and can quickly become inflamed when you get to close to something that your skin doesn’t particularly like. Echinacea can reduce and protect against the agents that cause these responses.
You can mash the plant into a paste that you apply directly to the site of disturbed skin. You can also make a poultice that you press against the area.

8. Helps Your Breathing

Have you ever had issues with asthma, strep throat, or a crouping cough? Echinacea is especially good at dealing with upper respiratory problems. In recent years, studies have revealed that echinacea reduces inflammation of the bronchial tubes and lungs. It's also used for diphtheria, tuberculosis, and whooping cough.
In these cases, however, you need much higher doses, so you may want to try an essential oil or supplement rather than drinking tea.

9. Fights Depression

New information by scientists studying echinacea have discovered another interesting effect. Apparently, Echinacea Angustifolia can help fight depression. They observed that taking small doses of echinacea, around 15 – 25 milligrams, can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
This is excellent news for future research for natural ways to deal with depression. It opens up a host of new possibilities for people who want to take a safe pill to help them manage their emotions. But more information is needed before a study can be set up to test drugs developed using this route. Typically, licensing obstacles prevent companies from wanting to do experimentation using natural products.

10. It Can Be a Laxative

Echinacea is truly a wonder herb. Studies have acknowledged that drinking 2 cups of echinacea tea a day can help make you more regular. But, please note that consuming more than the recommended amount could lead to some unpleasant effects. It is effective as a laxative, so be careful about how much you take.

How do I Make an Echinacea Decoction?

echinacea uses and benefits

A decoction extracts the active ingredients and principles from plants. It's basically like tea, but boiling is required as opposed to steeping. The tea is boiled down and concentrated. The word “decoct” means to concentrate by boiling.
Decoction and preparation: Put 1-2 teaspoons of echinacea root in one cup of water and bring it slowly to a boil. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Understanding Echinacea Safety Precautions

It is essential that you do your due diligence when researching this product for purchase. In recent years, curious consumers have made it a point to test and analyze what they purchased. In a few the supplements contained either smaller amounts of the plant, or almost none at all. Some of these false supplements can even cause harm because they include poisonous materials like heavy metals. It would be best to try and find a source certified for authenticity.

Safety and Reactions

Even though you can consider the echinacea safe, there are plants in nature that can be poisonous to you if you ingest them in high amounts. Some plants are toxic in any amount, so the term natural only describes how the plant came about, not its level of safety. It's important to consult a health-care provider when taking any supplement. This is especially true if you have medical problems or are pregnant.
Also, though uncommon, some people have had allergic reactions to echinacea. So you may want to get an allergy test before launching fully into the use of it to treat specific ailments. If you were to find yourself in the middle of a severely adverse reaction, it might take a fast intervention to prevent discomfort and danger.
Echinacea uses and benefits
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Written by Jackie Parker

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