Echinacea

Summary

Medicinal plant that stimulates the immune system, with action mainly in the treatment of colds, often used in the form of capsule, tablet or juice.

names

Portuguese name: echinacea, coneflower, purpurea, conical purple flower
Binomial name: Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench
French name: échinacée , échinacée pourpre, rudbeckia, rudbeckie, echinacee
English name: black sampson, rudbeckia, echinacea, coneflower
German name: Roter Sonnenhut , Echinacea , Purpursonnenhaut
Italian name: echinacea

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Family

Asteraceae (Asteraceae)

Constituents

Polysaccharides, essential oils, alkylamides, polyacetylenes, flavonoids: caffeic acid derivatives, glycoproteins

parts used

Leaves (especially for their supposed healing effect, also read below under Observations).

Effects

Immunostimulant, immunomodulator. Echinacea is estimated to increase the number of antibodies and white blood cells. This improves the immune response, healing (supposed effect of roots and leaves), antibacterial, antiviral.

Indications

– Prevention of infections such as the flu or colds , however, this effect is disputed. Also read the notes below.

– Reduction in the duration of cold symptoms . Read more in Notes.

Secundary effects

Very rare: itching, vertigo. Please read the leaflet and ask your specialist for advice.

contraindications

Allergy to this plant and other plants of the Asteraceae family, autoimmune diseases (HIV / AIDS, leukopenia, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.). Tuberculosis.

Interactions

Possible interaction with certain medications such as itraconazole, lovastatin (statin) and fexofenadine. Contraceptive pill.

Heads up! It is not advised to take echinacea-based remedies for more than 8 weeks, as there is a risk of the opposite effect, that is, a weakening of the immune defenses.

Echinacea-based preparations

– Chewable or non-chewable echinacea tablets

– Echinacea capsule

–  Echinacea tincture (if you have a cold, take 1-2 ml of this tincture every two hours, possibly mix it with a little water).

– Echinacea decoction

– echinacea syrup

Where does echinacea grow?

Echinacea grows mainly in Europe and the Americas. The plant is native to the United States.
All world production comes from cultures based mainly in North America and Europe, that is, the plant is not harvested in the wild in the wild. Echinacea usually reaches a height of between 60 and 180 cm. It is a perennial plant, meaning it can live for several years.

When to Harvest Echinacea?

Echinacea flowers are harvested in the spring, and the roots are harvested in late autumn between the 3rd and 4th year of the plant’s life. Echinacea roots are harvested when the flowers are fully open to ensure maximum active ingredients.

It is important to harvest the roots by hand. The roots must be dried and not eaten fresh. When you harvest the roots, be sure to leave some roots for the plant to grow back.

Plant it yourself!

Perennial species that likes full sun and moist soil. Echinacea is also grown in large pots.

The effectiveness of echinacea has always been the subject of controversy, because for several years (the end of the 90s), a lot of scientific data proved that this plant would be ineffective against infectious diseases such as flu and colds (flu syndrome).

However, new studies have emerged stating that there is indeed efficacy in the treatment with echinacea. We can highlight the study of Canadian researchers, who stated that the use of echinacea (treatment for about 8 weeks) would decrease the intensity of cold symptoms by a quarter; or even the study of Israeli researchers who proved that in children from 1 to 5 years old, the use of remedies based on echinacea, vitamin C and propolis (resin removed from the buds), for 12 weeks would reduce by half the rate of affected children and affected by colds compared to those who took a placebo.

Conclusions on the effectiveness of echinacea:
According to the latest scientific studies, echinacea does not help to prevent colds or flu, according to the renowned American health institution Mayo Clinic (a leading medical institution in the USA) and the National Media Geographic. The last notes that some studies have shown about echinacea’s effectiveness is that the plant shortens cold symptoms by 1 to 2 days. To benefit from the effects of this plant, it must be consumed at the first signs of a cold.

– Native Americans used at least three different species of echinacea. The Cheyenne used, for example, echinacea as an infusion made from the leaves and roots. Native Americans use echinacea primarily for its healing effect, both the roots and the leaves.

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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