Not only do their showy, daisy-like flowers bring colour and cheer to gardens everywhere, echinacea is also one of the most popular herbal supplements in the market today. Historically, Native North Americans used the herb to treat a variety of ailments. It was considered the “cure-all” herb.
Echinacea is available at most pharmacies, health shops and supermarkets as a tea, liquid extract, dried herb or capsule. The E. purpurea (Purple Coneflower) is the most popular species used in herbal supplements. Both the flowers and the roots are used as ingredients.
Echinacea is best known for boosting one’s immune system to ward off to colds and flu. Echinacea strengthens the immune system by stimulating the production of T-cells (blood cells that protect the body from infections). According to a 2012 University of Colorado Extension Service research study published in the journal “Evidence Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine,” echinacea may decrease the length and severity of your next cold.
As well, echinacea also has antibacterial properties. Echinacea can be applied topically to treat wounds, acne, sunburn and other skin problems. It can speed up the healing process. Also, the supplement can protect against bacterial infections in the respiratory tract. According to a study published in the July 2010 issue of the journal “Phytomedicine,” echinacea can offer protection against pneumonia and Strep throat.
Echinacea has been used to treat the following:
- Genital herpes
- Gum Disease
- Yeast Infection
And like any other medication, supplements may cause side effects such as: allergic reactions, headaches, nausea, numbness of the lips or tongue.
So as you can see, echinacea has many health benefits! So when flu season comes around, maybe it’s a good idea to take some echinacea…
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