The Medicinal Purposes of Echinacea and Warnings
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The Medicinal Purposes of Echinacea and Warnings

Echinacea is a popular herbal remedy used to treat common health conditions such as the cold and flu, however there are some precautions you should take before using this herb.

Echinacea is an herb also known as the purple coneflower. This herb is one of the most popular herbs used around the world as an immunostimulator to help the immune system protect the body from common illnesses such as the cold and flu. Echinacea works wonders as well for treating wounds, insect bites and stings, snakebites, blood poisoning, scarlet fever, syphilis, throat infections, urinary tract infections and sinusitis. The reason why this herb has the ability to prevent and treat common health conditions is that it contains potent substances in it known as glycoprotein, volatile oils, flavonoids, polysaccharides and alkamides.

Appearance and Smell of Echinacea

Echinacea is a perennial plant related to the daisy family. It is similar in appearance to a white daisy except it has purple, white and sometimes yellow petals and a spiky orange yellowish or brown round center. The stems are long and green with lance shaped leaves that are hairy. Typically, the flower can grow about 4 feet high and have flower heads about 6 inches wide. Echinacea has a pleasantly sweet floral scent to it. The scent of this flower can make a person sneeze.

Where Does Echinacea Grow

Echinacea typically grows in the United States, Europe and Canada in late summer early fall in flower and herbal gardens. In the wild you can find them growing in the Great Plains, fields, road sides and any place where the sun is shining brightly and the soil tends to be dry.

How Is Echinacea Used

Before people use Echinacea, they dig the herb up by the roots in the fall when the herb has matured. After they harvest the whole herb, they leave it out to dry on a screen table for up to a month where the air moves freely. Once the herb has dried, it is grinded into dry medicinal tealeaves to make herbal teas for treating and relieving common cold symptoms such as sore throats, coughing, chills, fevers, runny noses and sneezing. On some occasions, the roots of the herb cut right away and useful for making a potent tincture that is good for treating and relieving inflammation, viral and bacterial infections, respiratory health problems, fatigue and stress. Echinacea even comes in supplement form in herbal stores, but the supplements are always as potent as the fresh dried herb itself.  The reason why is because Echinacea loses its potency after about a year.

Warning When Using Echinacea

Do not use Echinacea if you are allergic to marigolds, chrysanthemums, ragweed, or daisies because allergic reactions are possible. People who suffer from autoimmune diseases or gastrointestinal issues should stay away from this herbal remedy as well because it can make these conditions worse. Women who are pregnant and young children should not use this herb since some side effects are unknown. Some side effects from taking Echinacea for more than 3 weeks at a time are breathing difficulties, nausea, asthma attacks, itching, skin rashes, hepatoxicity, dizziness and tremors. However, these side effect are rare and do not always occur. Before using this herbal remedy to treat and relieve any health condition naturally it is best to talk with your doctor first because it can interact with your current medication and health condition.

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Comments (2)

Great composition on this herb, thanks.

The whole plant- flowers, roots, stalk, and leaves- are ground together when dried? This is interesting.