Echinacea is one of the most well-known herbs that people use to help improve health. It is believed that Native Americans used Echinacea for over 400 years to help with infections, wounds and other health problems. Throughout history, people have used Echinacea to help with various health conditions.
Today, Echinacea is commonly used to help shorten the duration of the common cold and help to boost the immune system. It is also used to help reduce fever, sore throat and cough. Several studies suggest that Echinacea is effective in enhancing the immune system, reducing inflammation, relieving pain, antiviral and other health benefits.
Some studies have demonstrated that Echinacea can reduce the duration of the common cold. It has also shown to reduce the severity of the cold and reduce symptoms of those who take it when they are sick. It is a perennial herb that is native to North America. It has tall stems and its flowers are pink or purple. It has a central cone that is purple or brown.
There are three species commonly used for medicinal purposes, these are Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea. Echinacea preparations can vary containing one, two or all three of these species. Different products also use different parts of the plant. This is why it is important to buy from a reputable company with a good quality product to be effective. Some brands have even been found to contain no Echinacea at all.
It has several chemicals that help in its therapeutic effects. These are polysaccharides, alkamides, glycoproteins, volatile oils and flavonoids. The chemicals in the root are different than those found in the upper part of the plant. For example, the above ground parts have more polysaccharides which are known to trigger the immune system. Research demonstrates that the parts above ground have th most health benefits. Echinacea can vary from company to company in how it is prepared.
It is a good idea to take this herb under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner that is knowledgeable about its use. Even though herbs are natural, they can still have side effects and there are contra-indications. For example, Echinacea can enhance immune function, it should not be used with immunosuppressants which suppress the immune system. It should also not be taken by children under a year old because it is believed that it may have an undesirable effect on the immune system. There are concerns that Echinacea may also be unsafe for pregnant or breast feeding women. There may also be other situations where Echinacea may be contraindicated. You should consult a healthcare professional when taking this product.