Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea’s popularity has risen and fallen throughout the ages. Long before colonists arrived in America, the indigenous people used it as a healing herb to fight viral and other infections, to heal wounds and to treat snakebite. The colonists adopted it too, with one doctor describing it as a ‘blood purifier’. The advent of antibiotics pushed the herb into the background, but it has once again gained favour as an immune system booster to fight colds, flu and other infections.
Of the nine species of echinacea, also called purple coneflower and rudbeckia, three are used in herbal preparations: Echinacea angustifolia, E. purpurea and E. pallida. Preparations are made from all parts of the plant.
The main active ingredients in echinacea are alkylamides, which occur in the roots of Echinacea angustifolia and to a lesser extent in the shoots and leaves of E. purpurea. Other active constituents are polysaccharides, flavonoids and caffeic acid derivatives.
Echinacea stimulates various immune system cells that fight infection. It also contains antifungal and anti-inflammatory effects. It is prescribed to:
- Strengthen the immune system throughout the year.
- Fight infections such as colds and flu.
- Promote quicker recovery after infections.
- Help treat upper respiratory tract infections.
- Protect the heart during viral infections.
- Promote recovery from urinary tract and fungal infections.
- Improve white blood cell count after radiation treatment.
- Help heal minor wounds.
Flora Force Products containing Echinacea
- Echi-Mune™ Formula
- Immune™ Capsules
- Bronchi-Soothe™ Formula
- Bladder & Kidney™ Formula
- Anti-Flu™ Formula
Domestic & culinary uses
Echinacea’s used in the kitchen has not been reported.
Echinacea is indigenous to North America, although in South Africa Echinacea purpurea can be grown as a perennial in frost-free areas. Plant in rich, well-drained soil in full sun. Water regularly.