7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Super-herb Echinacea
You may think that Echinacea is nothing but an herb that may be occasionally helpful as a natural remedy. However, according to the American Botanical Council, Echinacea herb sales have risen 90% since 2013 and now it is a $30 million industry. What is the reason for the skyrocketing interest in this herb? We’ve got answers to that right here. Read on.
What is Echinacea?
The Echinacea flower refers to the North American coneflower family and for more than 400 years has been used as a traditional natural remedy by Native American tribes. It can be classified as an herb with several species. An Echinacea plant can be used to make natural medicine from its leaves, roots, seeds, and flowers. Before the rise of antibiotics in the 1950s, Echinacea medicine held esteemed medicinal status just like any other approved drug these days.
According to recent research at Maryland Medical Center, the whole portion of the Echinacea plant that grows above the ground is considered the most effective part of the plant.
In Germany, only the above-growing part of the Echinacea purpurea plant has been approved by the government as a dietary herb. Many Germans believe that Echinacea purpurea is the most effective type of this plant and can be used as a natural remedy for upper respiratory infections, colds, slow-healing wounds, and urinary tract infections.
The Echinacea purpurea plant grows in the eastern, southeastern and midwestern regions of the United States and in the Canadian Province of Ontario.
Echinacea plant: nutrition facts
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), any type of Echinacea plant can provide therapeutic value. This plant is rich in many natural chemicals, nutrients, and vitamins. Particularly, Echinacea contains flavonoids, glycoproteins, and volatile oils. Each part of the Echinacea plant has its own potentially beneficial components for your health. For example, Echinacea roots contain volatile oils, while Echinacea seeds flowers and above-ground leaves contain more polysaccharides.
Echinacea benefits for your health
Echinacea has been increasingly used in skin care products and serums to clear the skin and get rid of wrinkles by plumping it. However, true health starts inside our bodies and the team of WebMD and Dr. Josh Axe have published 7 major science-backed benefits based on the consumption of the Echinacea plant. You can try taking organic Echinacea tincture or pills daily, to get benefits like:
Can prevent or ease a common cold by boosting the immune system
According to a meta-analysis study including the results of 14 diverse studies held by the scientists of the University of Connecticut and published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, Echinacea for colds can be beneficial by reducing the duration of the disease by one-and-a-half days. It may even help to prevent the development of the common cold (lowering chances of getting sick by 58%). When taken 10 days in a row, Echinacea may significantly reduce the severity of cold symptoms.
Can combat cancer
An interesting research study about the possibility of Echinacea benefits regarding brain cancer has been published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This study claims that certain phytochemicals in the Echinacea plant can combat tumors and that is why the herb can be recommended by as a conventional natural cancer treatment. More research is being done to verify this.
Can reduce pain
The history of Echinacea medicine among the Great Lakes Indians started from its use as a painkiller. According to some nutritionists, Echinacea can ease pain sensations like in the cases of:
- Ache in the bowels;
- Snake bites;
- Stomach ache;
- Sore throats;
Echinacea for kids: to reduce aches and pains, Echinacea can be taken by kids in a herbal tea drink or a paste.
Echinacea can provide anti-inflammatory properties
According to the University of British Columbia, the daily intake of Echinacea can be beneficial for various types of inflammation. The NIH also claims that Echinacea can reduce eye inflammation for those suffering from the disorder uveitis. Some medics also recommend taking Echinacea to ease inflammation from chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis in the form of an herbal tea.
Echinacea may work as a mild natural laxative
Sipping 2-3 cups of Echinacea herbal tea or 1-2 capsules can help loosen stools naturally and provide regular constipation relief. According to Medical Herbalism, Echinacea can be also beneficial for the gastrointestinal tract.
Can fight severe infections
A few recent studies at the NIH found that Echinacea tincture and pills can be taken for the reduction of reoccurring vaginal yeast infections, bloodstream infections, genital herpes, gum diseases, syphilis, malaria, typhoid, and urinary tract infections.
Can calm you down and improve your mental health
Echinacea angustifolia can be used for specific mental ailments like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in kids and adults to relieve anxiety, depression, and social phobias associated with this disorder.
Echinacea and goldenseal mixture: why is it beneficial for your health?
When you start looking for Echinacea drops or capsules online, you will probably come across a few offers to buy a mixture of Echinacea and goldenseal herbs. This combination is intentional because these two plants can really supplement each other by increasing the benefits of both herbs. You can take this mixture for these benefits:
- Goldenseal can support the respiratory health by soothing the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, especially when combined with Echinacea;
- When combined with Goldenseal, Echinacea may reduce the severity of seasonal allergies and boost your immune system.
Is Echinacea safe?
According to the Mayo Clinic, high doses can cause mild-to-moderate side effects. Echinacea side effects include dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, disorientation, dry mouth, insomnia, headache, fever, joints, muscle aches, numbness of the tongue, stomach ache, sore throat, vomiting, and unpleasant taste. Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women should also limit the intake of Echinacea capsules or drops to the dose of 20 milligrams (mg) per day. Also, the expert team of WebMD recommends avoiding Echinacea pills, drops, and tincture if you have the following medical conditions:
- Lupus and other autoimmune disorders;
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection;
- Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS);
- Multiple sclerosis.
How can you take Echinacea?
The Healthline team assures readers that the key to getting the benefits of Echinacea is a proper daily dosage. The recommended daily dose is 20 mg and no more. In fact, taking more than 20 mg per day can cancel out Echinacea benefits, particularly for an anxiety relief.
Some experts recommend taking Echinacea drops, tinctures, or capsules as soon as you notice symptoms of the mentioned conditions as a supplementary medicine to your major treatment assigned by a health care specialist. In this case, it can be safe to use Echinacea plant a few times throughout the day, for a period of 7-10 days.
Before using Echinacea pills for any medical condition, consider consulting a health care specialist. Also, choose only 100% pure and organic Echinacea mixtures and pills from trusted brands.