Echinacea was used
by Native Americans for a variety of conditions, including
venomous bites and other external wounds. It was introduced
into U.S. medical practice in 1887 and was touted for use in
conditions ranging from colds to syphilis. Modern research
started in the 1930s in Germany.
Echinacea. Resembling a
black-eyed Susan, echinacea or purple coneflower is a North American
perennial that is indigenous to the central plains where it grows on
road banks, prairies, fields and in dry, open woods. It is also
called snake root because it grows from a thick black root that
Indians used to treat snake bites.
Echinacea one of the best blood purifiers and an effective
antibiotic. It activates the body's immune system increasing the
chances of fighting off any disease. This popular herb has been used
to help ward off the common cold and to relieve the symptoms of hay
The Plains Indians
used various species of echinacea to treat poisonous insect and
snake bites, toothaches, sore throat, wounds, as well as mumps,
smallpox, and measles. The settlers quickly adopted the therapeutic
use of the plant, and since that time it has become one of the top
selling herbs in the United States. Since the early 1900's hundreds
of scientific articles have been written about echinacea. Most of
the research during the past 10 years has focused on the
immunostimulant properties of the plant.
The constituents of
echinacea include essential oil, polysaccharides, polyacetylenes,
betain, glycoside, sesquiterpenes and caryophylene. It also contains
copper, iron, tannins, protein, fatty acids and vitamins
The most important immune-stimulating components are the large
polysaccharides, such as inulin, that increase the production of
T-cells and increase other natural killer cell activity. Fat-soluble
alkylamides and a caffeic acid glycoside called echinacoside also
contribute to the herb's immune empowering effects.
It has been shown
in animal and human studies to improve the migration of white blood
cells to attack foreign microorganisms and toxins in the
bloodstream. Research suggests that Echinacea's activity in the
blood may have value in the defense of tumor cells.
properties may offer benefit for nearly all infectious conditions.
Studies show Echinacea prevents the formation of an enzyme which
destroys a natural barrier between healthy tissue and damaging
organisms. Echinacea is considered an effective therapeutic agent in
many infectious conditions including upper respiratory infections,
cold and sinusitis. The
herb is a mild antibiotic that is effective against staph and strep
Echinacea aids in
the production of interferon and increases antiviral activity
against, influenza (flu), herpes, an inflammation of the skin and
mouth. It may reduce the severity of symptoms such as runny nose and
sore throat and reduce the duration of illness.
antibacterial properties can stimulate wound healing and are of
benefit to skin conditions such as burns, insect bites, ulcers,
psoriasis, acne and eczema. It's anti-inflammatory properties may
relieve arthritis and lymphatic swelling.
It has also been used in homeopathy treatments for chronic fatigue
syndrome, indigestion, gastroenteritis, and weight loss.