6 Health Benefits and Uses for Echinacea

Who hasn’t turned to this stunning beauty for help preventing or fighting off a nasty virus or to shorten the time spent suffering from a cold or flu? Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia) has become the go-to herb for just such occasions for good reason: it works. Native Americans have known this for centuries. This herb’s therapeutic reputation hasn’t always been so glowing.

Early in the last century, the Journal of the American Medical Association described the herb as a useless quack remedy. But when I started writing this blog, there were over two thousand scientific studies on echinacea. Few herbs have received so much scientific attention.  Here are some of the main health benefits of echinacea:

Respiratory Relief

Research in the medical journal Advances in Therapy found that echinacea extracts significantly reduce the risk of recurring respiratory infections, ear infections, tonsillitis and pharyngitis. Echinacea has also been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms of respiratory infections. In one study published in the journal Cell Immunology, researchers found that echinacea demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory properties that are likely responsible for these effects.

Lymph Lover

Echinacea is a powerful lymphatic system cleanser. The lymphatic system is a network of nodes, tubules, fluid and glands that “sweep” toxins, wastes and byproducts of inflammation out of body tissues. Echinacea helps to reduce congestion and swelling and get the lymph fluid moving.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Soother

New research in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology found that echinacea combined with alpha lipoic acid, conjugated linoleic acid and quercetin effectively reduced pain and other symptoms and also improved function in people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Bug Bites

Summer is coming and it brings hot weather, sun, flowers, picnics and insects. Insects seem to love me, so I really wanted to find a natural remedy that takes the itch out of bug bites. After trying many remedies, I found echinacea to be the most effective. A tincture of echinacea applied directly to the bug bite quickly alleviates the itching and swelling, probably through its proven immune-system balancing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Related: 8 Natural Mosquito Repellents

Anti-inflammatory and Anti-pain Antidote

Echinacea has a long history of use for reducing inflammation. Its effectiveness was demonstrated not only in the Cell Immunology study cited above but also in another study published in the online medical journal PLoS One. In the latter study, researchers found that echinacea was able to regulate various types of chemicals that form in the body in response to pain and inflammation, suggesting it has potential for the treatment of disorders involving these symptoms.

Insulin Resistance and Diabetes Treatment

Few people know about echinacea’s potential uses for managing diabetes and the prediabetic syndrome known as insulin resistance. Research published in the journal Planta Medica found that echinacea showed significant antidiabetic effects because of its ability to regulate insulin metabolism and blood glucose. Although research on Echinacea’s antidiabetic effects is still in its infancy, this study suggests impressive potential.

Using Echinacea

Several species of Echinacea have medicinal benefits: two of the most effective and commonly used are Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea.

To make Echinacea tea: Give your immune system a boost with this simple tea recipe. You can add a touch of honey or the natural sweetener stevia if you prefer a sweeter tea. If you’re still not wild about the taste of this herbal tea, you can also add one teaspoon of dried peppermint while brewing.

1 teaspoon of dried echinacea (flowers, leaves, stems, or seeds) or 1 tablespoon of fresh herb
1 cup boiled water

Stir the echinacea flowers into the water. Let the mixture steep for 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered. Drink one to three cups daily for best results.

Alternatively, take one teaspoon of tincture three times per day.

Echinacea is considered an endangered plant, so be sure to choose products that have been ethically-harvested.

Related:
Don’t Believe in Herbal Medicine? 10 Things to Change Your Mind
The 5 Best Herbs to Soothe Your Nerves
Should You Actually Starve a Fever?

 

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include the upcoming book: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.

48 comments

Telica R
Telica R8 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

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william Miller
william Millerabout a year ago

thanks

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Julie Pham
Julie Phamabout a year ago

Thanks

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Jonathan H
Jonathan Harperabout a year ago

NOTED!!!!!

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Margie F
Margie Fabout a year ago

Thank you. I just cant seem to get it growing.

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Danuta W
Danuta Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

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rosario p
rosario p.about a year ago

Truth T. The contests of different visions and approaches of diseases of allopathy - mechanic- and homeopathy - dynamic - maybe not so far will be answered by "maths" . Regarding this, it is interesting as the new discoveries of quantum physics, increasingly point to the fact that there is no such barrier between the dynamic (energetic) and the material. Quantum medicine is arising. - https://innovativemedicine.com/quantum-medicine/

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ERIKA S
ERIKA Sabout a year ago

thank you for sharing

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