Use Echinacea for Your Health- What Echinacea Can Do for You
Edited by Robbi, Eng, Anonymous, Lynn and 2 others
What is Echinacea?
Echinacea is a group of flowering plants in the daisy family. The nine different species of Echinacea are commonly known as coneflowers and are native to the eastern and central parts of North America.
They have a diverse habitat and can be found growing wild in many places, from open wooded areas to prairies and grasslands. They are also commonly grown in ornamental gardens for their large, showy flowers that bloom from the early part of summer and into autumn.
This herb has a long and interesting history of medicinal use. It was used for centuries by the Plains Indians to treat any number of ailments, from snakebites to sore throats. It was also used as an overall analgesic by many tribes. It is said that the Native Americans discovered the beneficial properties of Echinacea when they observed elk seeking out and eating the plant when they were sick or injured.
By the early part of the 20th century, echinacea was a popular herbal medicine in both America and Europe and it continued gaining popularity after German research was done in the 1920 to investigate its properties.
There have been many trials and studies conducted to test the effectiveness of echinacea as a treatment for various illnesses. Unfortunately most of the studies have had mixed conclusions and in many cases the studies themselves have been flawed.(1)
The Benefits of Echinacea
- 1It is most widely known for purportedly stimulating the body's immune system and therefore being able to ward off aliments such as colds and flu.Advertisement
- 2While there is no hard evidence to support this claim, some studies concluded that echinacea increased the immune system's "non-specific" activities.Advertisement
- 3This means that unlike a vaccine, which is only effective against one or two different virus structures, echinacea can help to stimulate the cellular activity responsible for fighting off all types of infections.
- 4There are also many people who claim that when taken in doses of four to five cups of tea a day when the first symptoms appear, echinacea reduces the severity and length a cold.
- 5While studies are inconclusive, if you look at the chemical makeup of echinacea, it can help to understand what, if anything, it can do for you.One potentially helpful compound in echinacea is phenols, which are commonly found in other plants.
- 6They have anti-clotting as well as anti-inflammatory qualities that can be considered beneficial.These phenols are believed to be one of the things that makes olive oil so beneficial. They also have polysaccharides, which are known to boost your mood through the production of "feel good" hormones.
- 7In truth, whether there are any health benefits or not, when you are sick, a cup of hot tea is almost sure to make you feel better, so why not try it?
- 8You needn't spend an outrageous amount of money on supplements in pill form, when a few cups of echinacea tea every day will give you a sufficient amount of the herb to boost your immune system naturally.
- 9There are no known dangerous side effects from echinacea, but because it is thought that phenols may be related to some endocrine-disruptive chemicals, it is not recommended for those with autoimmune disorders.Advertisement
Further Reading and References on Echinacea
- Largest ever clinical study into echinacea finds herbal remedy CAN protect against colds Clinical Study
- Clinical Study: an extract of echinacea showed an increase of 50-120 percent in immune function over a five-day period (Jurcic, et al. 1989).
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Categories : Echinacea Usage & Benefits
Recent edits by: Dougie-1, Lynn, Anonymous