Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) is a flowering plant with pink or pale purple petals that grow on strong stems above the ground. Before the advent of antibiotics, the herb was traditionally used as a remedy for infections, snakebites, and colic. Today, Echinacea is used as a key ingredient in natural cough drops, cold remedies, and herbal supplements.
Echinacea supplements are available in supplements and pure, organic tea forms.
Health Benefits of Echinacea
Echinacea and its supplements have become popular for supporting health. Let’s take a look at the reasons for the herb’s popularity.
Boosts the Immune System
Echinacea can have a powerful effect on the immune system as it encourages overall good health. Studies show Echinacea to be one of the most effective supplements for boosting immunity. Echinacea significantly lowers a person’s risk of catching a common cold. As one of several effective natural cold remedies, the herb also reduces the duration of the common cold.
Indeed, Echinacea is beneficial for the prevention and treatment of cold as well as an immune system stimulant.
With its ability to stop viral colds and recurring infections, Echinacea has become a favorite recommendation for doctors and herb experts for their patients.
Studies have shown that Echinacea’s benefits in brain cancer are clearly evident. The herb contains phytochemicals which may be effective tools for fighting off tumors. Alongside conventional therapy, the use of Echinacea as another or additional natural cancer treatment is now being recommended for cancer patients.
Facilitates Transport of Oxygen
Echinacea may enhance oxygen levels in the blood as it increases the production of erythropoietin in the bone marrow. This, in turn, promotes the production of red blood cell and increases the ability of the blood to transport oxygen.
Reduces Redness and Swelling
In most cases, unhealthy diet or strenuous exercise may lead to systemic swelling, redness, and some discomfort in the body. The consumption of Echinacea or topical application of skin care products that contain Echinacea essential oil can help reduce tissue irritation.
Acts as a Laxative
Like several other herbs, Echinacea is especially effective healing for the stomach and the gastrointestinal tract as a whole. In fact, Echinacea can function as a mild natural laxative to provide natural relief for constipation and act as a calming agent.
Drinking Echinacea herbal tea is particularly effective to help with stomach problems. For more severe conditions, a cup of Echinacea tea daily can help ease bowel movements. However, be sure not to use Echinacea in excess and limit your tea to a maximum of two cups per day and adhering to directions on labels before taking supplements.
Supports Oral Health
When used in combination with other herbs like lavender and sage, Echinacea has shown the ability to cure bad breath. This has partly been attributed to Echinacea’s ability to neutralize the dangerous organisms that result in bad breath.
Promotes the Health of Cells
Consuming Echinacea improves the health of protective cells in the body. Several of the compounds found in Echinacea support immune cells and promote the growth of healthy cells.
Improves Mental Health
Echinacea is often recommended to help with specific ailments connected with attention-deficient/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and it is considered one of the natural remedies for ADHD. People who suffer from ADD/ADHD have a higher risk of experiencing depression, anxiety, and other emotional problems. Luckily, Echinacea can alleviate these mental health issues.
Echinacea is used as a painkiller to reduce aches and pains. The herb has also shown its potential for boosting comfort after surgery. It is a particularly effective natural pain reliever for headaches, sore throats, toothache, stomach ache, tonsillitis, snake bites, as well as pain associated with herpes, the bowels, measles, and gonorrhea.
One effective way to use Echinacea to combat pain is to drink its herbal tea. Alternatively, you can make a paste out of the dried herb and apply it directly on the affected areas.
Enhances Skin Health
Echinacea treats skin irritation and fades out blemishes. Studies have found that it helps moisturize the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Echinacea benefits the skin in amazing ways and has been used to regenerate skin as well as treat eczema, snake bites, wounds, arthropod bites, psoriasis, stings, skin infections, and inflammatory skin problems.
Promotes Upper Respiratory Health
Echinacea is one of the best herbs for supporting upper respiratory health for both adults and children. Due to its immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory abilities, Echinacea provides relief for upper respiratory symptoms, including asthma, croup cough, whooping cough, common cold, tuberculosis, sinusitis, strep throat, and inflammation.
In fact, according to studies of individuals who are asthmatic, Echinacea functions almost like conventional drugs in treating asthma. For chronic respiratory issues, Echinacea supplements are more effective as drinking the tea may not be concentrated enough.
Prevents Premature Aging
While more research is needed for confirmation, preliminary results indicate that Echinacea may possess anti-aging potential.
Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Although various factors like toxins, stress, and insomnia all contribute, inflammation is arguably the reason for most diseases in the world today. Thankfully, regular consumption of Echinacea can effectively alleviate inflammation. It is, therefore, advisable for people who suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis to regularly consume the Echinacea herbal tea.
Rich in Antioxidants
Echinacea is a rich source of antioxidants like vitamin C, selenium, flavonoids, zinc, and beta-carotene. In fact, studies suggest that Echinacea tincture may contain more antioxidants than Gingko Biloba.
Echinacea is also a potent remedy for a wide range of infections. Echinacea can be applied as a medicated cream on the skin and in reducing the rate of reoccurring vaginal infections. The herb is also believed to help treat genital herpes, vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, syphilis, malaria, typhoid, gum disease, and infections in the bloodstream.
How to Make Echinacea Tea
To make Echinacea tea, we have put together a simple recipe. Remember to only use organic or Echinacea taken from the wild, and free of pesticides. To incorporate flavor, you can add natural sweeteners like honey.
Boil some distilled or filtered water over medium heat. Add a mixture of leaves, flowers, and roots. Allow it covered, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Thereafter, you can strain and enjoy your Echinacea tea whether hot or cold.
Side Effects of Echinacea
Evidently, Echinacea possesses a host of health benefits and is generally considered safe. However, the herb has some side effects.
- Some common side effects of Echinacea include mild nausea, dizziness, and dry mouth.
- Individuals who are sensitive to pollen should exercise caution when taking Echinacea. The herb belongs to the same family of plants as marigolds, ragweed, and daisies.
- While it is a favorite for many women, more research is needed to ascertain the safety of Echinacea for pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers.
- When looking for an Echinacea supplement to boost or support your health, you should take precautions. Only purchase your Echinacea supplements from a reliable supplier who can provide organic alternatives that are free of dangerous sweeteners, chemicals, and additives.
As with all herbs, if you are considering using Echinacea, check with a professional health care provider first.