ECHINACEA (other names: Echinacea Purpurea, Echinacea Angustifolia, Purple Coneflower): Benefits, Uses and Virtues of Echinacea? Medicinal properties? Dosage? Side-effects? Origins, Composition, Expert opinions, Combination with other Plants, and more Information on Echinacea Purpurea.

Echinacea

Echinacea Purpurea (or Purple Coneflower) is a very well-known medicinal plant that awakens and stimulates the immune system. It is very effective as prevention (or in the early stages of infection), but is not suitable for treating infection. The root of the plant is generally used to treat infections of the respiratory and urinary tracts and to prevent flu and cold. This is not a plant that can be used at any time in any manner, or for too long a period of time, because its powerful effects on the immune system rely entirely on its being used correctly.

Echinacea: Medicinal Properties

 

Immune system – Natural antibiotic – Anti-infection

immunité- stimulates the immune system very effectively (+++)
- awakens the immune system, making it alert  (+++)
- pulmonary and respiratory infections: bronchitis, pharyngitis, rhinopharyngitis (+++) (synergy with Garlic and Turmeric)
- respiratory anti-inflammatory (+++)
- natural antibiotic, anti-infection (+++)
- prevents colds, flu, fever (+++) (synergy with Rhodiola and Ginseng)
- prevents the development of sinusitis, laryngitis, rhinitis, rhinopharyngitis (+++) (synergy with Propolis)
- prevents bacterial angina, sore throat, coughs (+++) (synergy with Ginger)
- prevention of winter illnesses, chills (+++) (synergy with Propolis and Royal Jelly)
- protects from pollution and tobacco smoke (++) (synergy with Ginger and Turmeric)
- reinforces white blood cells which destroy germs, bacteria, microorganisms (+++)
- candidiasis, destruction of Candida albicans (+++) (synergy with Garlic)
- fights effectively against Staphylococcus aureus
- infections of the urinary tracts, cystitis (+++)
- anti-allergy, protects from different allergies (++)
- toothache, tooth abscess (++) (traditional usage)  (synergy with Propolis)
- bites from snakes, spiders and insects… (++) (traditional usage)
- Lyme disease (+++)
- eases the body’s response to the change of seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter) (++)
- promotes healing of injuries (++) (external usage)
- promotes healing of skin (++) (external usage)
- improves blood circulation (++)
- viral diseases (+)
- convalescence (+)

Echinacea: Origins

Echinacea Purpurea is the most commonly used species of Echinacea in herbal medicine. There are several existing species of Echinacea, but they all originated in North America. Echinacea Purpurea possesses ancient medicinal properties; native Americans (Cheyennes, Sious, Comanches…) used the plant in order to combat respiratory infections, toothache and sore throat, as well as to treat snake bites. Echinacea Purpurea was not the only species of Echinacea used by the native Americans; they often used the species that grew in their native regions, such as Echinacea Angustifolia or Echinacea Pallida. Several German and Swiss doctors were interested in the benefits of the plants, and traces of them can be found in works dating from the time of Christopher Columbus. Echinacea is thus one of the first natural antibiotics (combats bacteria but not viruses), but the arrival of pharmaceutical antibiotics caused the plant to fall into obscurity for many years. Today, it has regained interest in response to the emergence of antibiotic resistance in some strains of bacteria due to mutation.

Echinacea: Composition

Echinacea (Purpurea, Angustifolia…) contains alkylamides (major components), which act like a powerful natural shield, while improving blood circulation. It also contains phenolic compounds and complex polysaccharides, as well as indolizidine alkaloids, long-chain fatty acids, and a very specific essential oil.

Echinacea: Dosage

Echinacea Purpurea should not be taken for very long periods of time. It is an effective aid to awakening the immune system, but should be used for periods of 2-3 weeks maximum. This is because the immune system should not be permanently kept in an alert state. Echinacea Purpurea is available in a number of different forms: capsules, infusions, decoctions, mother tinctures. In the case of capsules, dosage is from 700mg to 2 grams per day.

Echinacea: Ultimate effects, benefits, virtues

Used correctly, Echinacea Purpurea will protect from the large majority of winter illnesses, or at least strongly reduce the symptoms. The plant is only really effective as prevention or in the early stages of infection, (for the treatment of infections, germs or bacteria present for a longer period of time, plants such as Garlic, Ginger or Turmeric are preferred). Echinacea strongly reinforces the immune system and increases the capacity of white blood cells to destroy all intruders to the body. It is thus a strong boost to the immune system, which is given a powerful awakening. Echinacea can be effective if used prior to contact with people who are ill, or upon noticing the first symptoms of flu, sore throat or other winter infections. The plant also improves the body’s response to the change of seasons, and can be used equally effectively at the beginning of spring, autumn or winter. It is especially effective for combating infections of the respiratory tracts such as sinusitis, laryngitis, colds… and for protecting the lungs from external attack (pollution, tobacco smoke…)

Echinacea: Side-effects, contraindications

Echinacea is a well-known, safe plant. However, if it is used for too long a period of time, it can have harmful effects on the immune system, which is continuously stimulated and under strain. It is thus recommended to limit periods of use to a maximum of 3 weeks, at the beginning of winter or spring in order to ease the change of seasons. There can be cases of allergic reaction to Echinacea Purpurea, but this is relatively rare. Rarer still are cases of small digestive problems, nausea and dizziness.

Echinacea: Opinions of experts

Echinacea Purpurea is essentially a plant that protects the healthy functioning of the immune system: it acts as a shield. The plant awakens the immune system, which remains dormant in order to prevent the start of an infection, but can also work at a deeper level. The immune system is not merely about the healthy functioning of the white blood cells, but needs to be considered as a larger whole, comprising a system of healthy, detoxified organs (liver, spleen, lungs, intestines…), as well as good blood circulation. To appoint all responsibility for ensuring a problem-free winter to Echinacea is to ask a lot of the plant (even though it is very effective); rather, it must be reinforced with spices, plants and algae such as Turmeric, Ginger, Chlorella and Spirulina that detoxify the body, protect the organs and reinforce the immune system.

Echinacea: More Information

As we have seen, the main functions of Echinacea Purpurea are to awaken and reinforce the body’s defensive elements. The immune system can be compared to an army of soldiers. If the soldiers are not properly fueled (vitamins, minerals, trace elements), and have difficulty forging a path (blood circulation, congested organs), they will take longer to arrive on the battle field and will consequently be much less effective. This is also why Echinacea should not be used over too long a period of time; it is better to use other medicinal plants the rest of the time, in order to let the body and its immune system rest and reconstruct itself naturally. Echinacea Purpurea is thus the safety shield that should be called into action at the beginning of a problem or in order to prevent such problems from occurring.

Echinacea: Combination with other plants

Echinacea Purpurea combines very well with Turmeric and Ginger (prevention of winter illnesses, protection of the immune system, protection from chronic respiratory infections, blood purification), but also with Garlic (powerful shield against germs, viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungus…), Ginseng, Maca and Rhodiola (stimulates the immune system, restores strength, energy and libido), Chlorella and Spirulina (detoxifies and nourishes the body, stimulates the immune system, protects and purifies the different organs), Royal Jelly and Propolis (immune system, flu, angina, fatigue, protection against infections).

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