Latin names: Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, Echinacea purpurea
Other names: coneflower, blacksamson, purple coneflower
What is Echinacea?
Coneflower, more commonly known as echinacea, is the most well known medicinal herb native to North America. It was originally used by the Plains Indians to treat stings and bites. Now, it can be found in numerous products—most of which are used to stimulate the immune system, both to prevent colds and to shorten their duration. This is a very popular herb in the U.S. and Germany.
What are the health benefits of Echinacea?
Aside from boosting immune function to fight colds and flu, echinacea is also used to treat urinary tract infections, chronic yeast infections, irritable bladder syndrome, allergies, and gum disease.
How is Echinacea Administered?
This herb is available in numerous forms. However, since the medicinally active part of the plant is difficult to absorb, it is best taken as an alcohol-based tincture, which is absorbed into the bloodstream orally. Intravenous injections are also effective. Generally, the root is considered more medically active, and the angustifolia variety is thought to be the most potent.
Where can I find Echinacea?
Echinacea can be found at health food stores, as well as the offices of Western herbalists, homeopathic practitioners, and naturopaths.
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