Echinacea is a perennial herb from the Midwestern region of North America. Results from the archeological digs indicate that Echinacea may have been used by Native Americans already more than 400 years ago to treat infections and wounds. Nowadays Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs used in America.
Several studies suggest that Echinacea contains active substances that can relieve pain, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral and antioxidant effects. For this reason Echinacea has been used to treat for example urinary infections, candida infections, ear infections, sinusitis, as well as slow healing wounds.
Most popular use for Echinacea is usage as a remedy against common cold. So far the study results are mixed on whether or not Echinacea can prevent common cold or be the answer to question how to get rid of a cold. Some studies have shown that people who take Echinacea as soon as they feel sick reduce the severity of their cold and have fewer symptoms than people not taking the herb. On the other hand there are studies suggesting that Echinacea has no impact on cold at all.
There are three species of Echinacea ( Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallid and Echinacea purpurea) which are used for medicinal purposes. Echinacea preparations can contain one, two or even all three of these species. In addition to this, different products can use different parts of the plant as the active substances found in the root differ notably from those in the upper part of the plant. The combination of different Echinacea species and different parts of the plant are therefore responsible for final effectiveness of Echinacea supplement.
Echinacea is available in many forms. You can find it at least in extracts, tinctures, tablets, capsules and ointments, as well as in combination with other immune boosting herbs, vitamins and minerals. When using Echinacea it is important to choose a high quality supplement and then take it at a high-enough therapeutic dose to get the desired result. High quality Echinacea products are at least tinctures manufactured by Herb Pharm products of Herbalist by Alchemist.
To support immune system and preventing common cold Echinacea can be taken daily at a dose of half a teaspoon three times a day (for adults). If you are already sick, or at the onset of symptoms, the dose to fight a cold is teaspoon-full four times a day (for adults). It is recommended to take Echinacea for at least three days after symptoms have disappeared to make sure that bugs are really gone.
When taken by mouth, Echinacea may cause temporary tingling and numbing on the tongue. Echinacea usually does not cause side effects, in rare cases allergic reactions ranging from rashes to anaphylaxis may occur. People with allergies and asthma may be at an increased risk for developing adverse reactions. Echinacea may also trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements or medications. Therefore it is recommended to use herbs like Echinacea under the supervision or knowledgeable health care provider.