Echinacea is an herb that is used to treat different ailments and diseases. It serves to combat respiratory infections, urinary, herpes, chronic fatigue, migraines, and dizziness, among others. Learn more about the benefits of Echinacea in the following article.
Characteristics of Echinacea
The Echinacea is a plant native to North America and was already used in antiquity by American tribes. At the same time, it was adopted by traditional medicine at the beginning of the 20th century.
In total, it has 23 subspecies, of which 10 are suitable for human consumption. The three most widespread varieties are Purpurea (the most effective), Angustifolia and Pallida.
It is rich in vitamins B and C, riboflavin, beta-carotene and minerals (iron, calcium, magnesium, and sodium). Many natural products that we find today in herbalists and homeopathy have Echinacea. It is used from the root to the flowers in their entirety, also seeds, leaves, and stems. It was used, for example, to heal wounds caused by arrows or bites from snakes. Also as a disinfectant and bactericide and for sexually transmitted diseases, angina, sores in the mouth and eye problems.
The main virtue of Echinacea is its antimicrobial properties against bacteria, viruses, and fungi, being very good as a natural antibiotic. It stimulates the immune system, produces more white blood cells, can be taken dry, such as supplements, tincture, capsules, and tablets.
Benefits Of Echinacea
Thanks to its antiviral properties, it is used for the treatment of various respiratory diseases and can be used as a preventive for such ailments, especially in children, elderly people, with a weak immune system, patients, etc.
It helps to treat the flu and the cold; throat problems (such as pharyngitis or angina); Bronchitis; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ), influenza, allergies, hay fever, and sinusitis.
Body Infections Or Weakening States
This is because Echinacea is a great stimulant of the immune system It is a good treatment for infectious diseases when the body does not have many defenses. Among them, we can highlight:
- Herpes (labial, genital HPV, and zoster)
- The vaginal infections (produced by microbes or fungi)
- Infections in the urinary system, such as cystitis or urethritis
- Ear infections (especially otitis)
- The sties (occurs when bacteria penetrate the hair follicle tab)
- Sexually transmitted diseases (AIDS, syphilis, and gonorrhea)
- Body weakness (as in the case of chronic fatigue syndrome, after an operation or in convalescence).
It also has to see its ability to stimulate the immune system. Echinacea has been used in patients with low defenses due to chemotherapy or radiation therapy with very good results, but in addition, research shows that it is effective in killing cancer cells.
Stimulates the appetite, serves to increase salivary secretions, helps in digestion and is an effective remedy for those who suffer from dry mouth.
Inflammation of Tendons and Muscles
One of the main benefits of Echinacea is that it has a great anti-inflammatory power, excellent for sports injuries, accidents, falls, blows, etc. It is used for tendonitis and bursitis.
The fresh juice of the echinacea plant applied to the skin has great benefits in the cases of wounds, cuts, ulcers, burns, hemorrhoids, insect bites, cuts, boils, abscesses, acne, blackheads, eczema, sores in mouth, gingivitis, angina, and pharyngitis.
Other benefits of Echinacea
Reduces fever, facilitates the expectorant process of phlegm, treats malaria and diphtheria, helps in diseases of the circulatory system (such as rheumatism or septicemia), reduces migraines and is recommended in patients with an attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity (ADHD).
Contraindications of Echinacea
Regardless of whether it is a plant and serves for many disorders and diseases, Echinacea should always be consumed with the supervision of an expert (naturopathic doctor, homeopath, etc.). The contraindications, released by the European Committee of Medicinal Herbs (HMPC) are few, but it is good to know them.
Studies have shown that it can cause allergic reactions in children under the age of twelve. The cases analyzed suffered from urticaria, rashes, and skin inflammations; anaphylaxis (generalized immune reaction by the body) and respiratory problems such as asthma.
It is not recommended to consume Echinacea in patients with liver diseases, during pregnancy or lactation. In turn, it is necessary to know that this herb can interact negatively with other substances or drugs, such as coffee or those that are eliminated through the liver.
Echinacea treatments should not be prolonged for more than two months, let stand one or two weeks and then continue.
How To Consume Echinacea
An expert is responsible for indicating the doses and periodicity of the intake of echinacea, as it happens with other plants or essential oils.
As all parts of this herb can be used, we can get it in various preparations, from dry extract to fluid through capsules, infusions, and tinctures. In the case of using it topically can be purchased as dressings, creams or lotions.
For the infusions the leaves and the dry root extract are used, you can consume up to five cups of tea the first day and then reduce the amount to one a day.