Echinacea purpurea - Build the immune system and boost the body's fight against infections

Common name for Purple coneflower: Purple coneflower or Echinacea purpurea is commonly known as coneflower and is a genus of nine species of herbaceous plants in the family Asteraceae.

Occurrences: All are strictly native to eastern and central North America. Purple coneflower is one of the most popular herbs in America and was discovered and used by the Native Americans in the early days. It is named so because of its prickly scales in its large conical seed head. It takes after the look of an angry hedgehog due t the similarity of the spines while the composite flowers are large and showy heads. The flowers of the purple coneflower bloom from early to late summer.

Parts used of this plant: The roots and upper parts of the plant are used in medicinal preparations from the purple coneflower.

Medicinal uses

Since olden days, Echinacea purpurea has been used to treat various diseases ranging from scarlet fever, venereal diseases such as syphilis, malarial infections, blood poisoning, and diphtheria. In recent times, Echinacea purpurea or purple coneflower is used to reduce the effects of common cold and flu and soothe the symptoms of painful diseases such as sore throat or pharyngitis, severe cough and cold, and reduce fever. Most herbalists are of the opinion that Echinacea be recommended to help build the immune system and boost the body's fight against infections. Recent laboratory and animal research studies show that Echinacea purpurea possesses active chemical compounds that help to boost the activity of the immune system, alleviate pain, cut down inflammation, and bring about positive hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant changes to treat disorders. Some professional herbalists advocate the use of Echinacea purpurea in treating urinary tract disorders, yeast infections, ear infections or otitis media, tinea pedis, inflammation of the sinus and allergic rhinitis. It is also used to treat certain wounds that are slow in healing. Although purple coneflower is known to be a safe herb, patients experiencing tuberculosis, blood disorders, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorders, and liver disorders should refrain from consuming Echinacea purpurea preparations. It is possible that Echinacea could bring down the potency of medications that inhibit the immune system. Moreover since Echinacea has the ability to boost immune function, people who are under treatment for organ transplant with immunosuppressive medications must strictly avoid taking the herb as it contradicts the traditional medication.

Administered as

Herbalists usually recommend the use of Echinacea purpurea in boosting general immunity in the event of colds, flu, respiratory tract infections, and mild bladder infections. Echinacea purpurea or purple coneflower is usually administered in the form of dried root or herb, as tea, standardized tincture extract, powdered extract, tincture and as stabilized fresh extract.