Written By Liz Oakes
The benefits of Echinacea have been known about by the American Indian people since before the arrival of Columbus, as it was used to treat wounds and infections.
This was a common herbal remedy, due to its properties of being a natural anti-biotic, as well as antiviral, antifungal and disinfectant.
Prior to the now common use of antibiotics, a bottle of Echinacea tincture was found in most homes.
Now that herbal medicine is popular again, this herb in particular has become very well known for its strong effect for boosting your immune system.
It is well known as a remedy that will help coughs, colds, flu, spring allergies and respiratory infections, but did you know that it will also aid a number of other problems?
It was used in the old west to treat many other health problems not so common these days, such as scarlet fever and blood poisoning.
Commonly called the coneflower, or purple coneflower Echinacea is a member of the daisy family of plants, and is a native of North America.
There are 9 different varieties in this family with three varieties being very effective to boost immune system function.
The name of this plant comes from a Greek word echinos, which is said to mean hedgehog. This is because of the unusual hedgehog shape of the flowers.
This quite unique cone shape is why it also has the common name coneflower.
The names of the three varieties of this plant used to make natural herbal remedies, are echinacea purpurea and echinacea angustifolia which are two most potent varieties, and echinacea pallida.
These three are used as medicines in a variety of forms, including medicines made from the leaves, root and juice.
There are also many benefits of Echinacea when it is taken as a herbal tea. A compound found in this plant, known as echinacein, is used to make tinctures of this herb.
There are some side effects of Echinacea and a number of reasons why it should not be used by some people, so please note this before taking this remedy.
Although medical doctors often prefer to use drugs, there are a number of well known Echinacea facts that come from alternative practitioners.
Information from naturopaths and herbalists support the claims that this is a highly effective medicine.
The echinacea herb has a strong ability to stimulate your immune system to fight off infections.
This natural health remedy has a very effective action in the body to boost the production of interferon, a protein which is released by the body to prevent viruses from replicating themselves.
Some of the known benefits of Echinacea are its ability to boost the strength of t-lymphocytes.
T-cells are vital to the immune system as they help the body to increase the number of anti-bodies that you have circulating.
They work to fight off pathogenic invaders and viruses, as well as increasing the ability of the white blood cells to deal with any viruses or other micro-organisms that you may encounter.
This herbal remedy is known to be very effective to strengthen immune system health and aid the immune system to fight the effects of colds and flu.
This includes helping to treat sore throats, hay fever, coughs and upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and sinusitis.
This is why this herb is known to be a helpful remedy to aid sinus headache symptoms.
Although commonly found in natural cold remedies, it is also an effective blood purifier and may be used to treat yeast and urinary tract infections.
Its effects are cumulative in the body, and the active ingredient in this natural allergy remedy is helpful to aid common symptoms such as enlarged lymph glands, ear infections and sore throat, that may be slow to heal.
It was used in the past as a remedy when nothing else would work, as the effectiveness of echinacea was well known.
There are a large number of benefits of Echinacea. It is powerful to relieve symptoms such as runny nose, and persistent cough, and using it is known to shorten the symptoms of illness.
The best way to use it is to take it as soon as you feel the symptoms coming on, as this is known to shorten the time you have infections.
Even if you start taking this herb after you are already sick, it will help to reduce your recovery time.
Its action to boost the immune system is helpful if you have spring allergy symptoms and also have contact with viruses, and need an effective remedy that will aid you to get well quickly.
There are a number of benefits of Echinacea that will help you especially in the flu season as it is one of the best immune system herbs.
The active ingredient used for medicines is called echinacoside, and it is a natural antibiotic, as well as being disinfectant, anti fungal and one of the best antiviral herbs.
Natural herbal remedies made from this plant are very effective for coughs, colds, flu, sore throats, nasal congestion and sinus infections.
This natural health remedy was one of the treatments in the old American west to treat a variety of problems such as scarlet fever, blood poisoning, malaria, herpes and syphilis.
It is a helpful remedy to aid a number of areas rather than just the cold and flu symptoms, and this includes skin related issues.
It may also aid chronic fatigue syndrome, which is sometimes linked to leaky gut syndrome.
It will also aid stomach problems such as urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections such as candida, healing leaky gut, enlarged prostrate and hemorrhoids.
To use it to prevent colds and flu you may get this remedy as a tincture, in capsules or tablets made from the juice, or you may drink it as a tea.
To ensure that you get the required dosage it might be easier to use it in tablet or capsule form rather than the tea. If you prefer to use the tea, take it after a meal once a day.
The tea is a helpful remedy to have on hand as a wash if you have problems in the mouth, including pyorrhea, canker sores, gingivitis or even mouth ulcers.
You may use the tea or the tincture in water to rinse your mouth with, to aid these issues. It is also an analgesic and is quite effective when used on burns.
As Echinacea has a strong antibiotic action, it may be used as a topical disinfectant to treat cuts, septic sores, varicose ulcers of the leg or any type of skin wound or infection.
It also comes as a lotion or Echinacea cream made to use on the skin. There are benefits of echinacea as an effective treatment to aid eczema symptoms and psoriasis.
It will also assist slow healing wounds to heal more quickly, and is known to aid bee stings and insect bites. It is also useful to help acne, and slow healing skin infections such as boils.
While the tablets or capsules are helpful, keeping the tincture on hand as an ancillary may be useful.
It is an easy remedy to use in a number of different ways, including being able to be made into an anti-bacterial wash if required.
Take Note: if you are allergic to ragweed, marigolds, chrysanthemums or daisies you may have an allergic reaction to Echinacea.
This may be as a skin rash, or some people have reported having minor gastrointestinal problems.
Medical experts recommend that you don't use Echinacea if you are on immuno suppressants for diseases like cancer, or after organ transplants.
They also say that you should not use it if you have Lupus, multiple sclerosis or HIV.
Like all natural health remedies, for any one who is allergic or chemically sensitive, it is possible that you might be allergic to it, so it is important to trial it carefully first.
Some sources advise that it should not be taken for more than eight weeks at a time. This is because it is said that using it too long may cause damage to your immune system by inhibiting production of T cells.
Although there are a number of benefits of echinacea, it is important for you to ensure that you are not allergic to it, and it is okay for you to use it.
There are a large number of different items that may be found in combination with this herb, including Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid, eleuthero root aka Siberian ginseng, turmeric extract, bromelain and other herbs.
You will find a number of remedies that contain echinacea in them, and these are commonly immune system supplements.
Echinacea juice is an ingredient in quite a few throat lozenges too and you can get chewable echinacea tablets too.
Minerals may also be added to them including zinc, as there are benefits of zinc to aid the immune system.
Echinacea golden seal is another combination that is excellent to aid your immune system.
Combination remedies may be used to aid leaky gut syndrome which might help you if you have chronic fatigue.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a difficult problem to live with as the severe exhaustion is extremely draining.
It is thought that an ongoing feeling of being always tired may be linked to a number of viruses in your system, which may be helped by using this remedy.
If your feelings of being exhausted relate to long term, ongoing stress you may have adrenal gland fatigue.
It is known that leaky gut syndrome, is linked to chronic fatigue, allergies and to fibromyalgia.
There are a number of benefits of Echinacea when used along with a number of other natural remedies for allergies to aid the problem, and this may also help to strengthen immune system health.
The important thing is to start taking it before you get too sick, as it will boost your immune system and help you to fight the infection.
While some proponents of the use of drugs wish to point out its negative effects, so many people now use it that it is common knowledge how effective it is.
The best way of knowing the benefits of Echinacea is to use it to aid your own health. When you look through the list of health problems it will aid, you can see why in the past every home had a bottle on the shelf.