Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Echinachea / Purple Coneflower
This is one of my favorite herbs. I love watching it change colors from very pale pink to deep pink. Also the cones in the center change. But other than being pretty what is it good for?
Why it's used- Echinacea helps prevent and treat colds, bronchitis, gingivitus, cold sores, yeast and ear infections.
What parts can be used-The root generally used in tinctures or powders for almost any type of infection or inflammation; it can be especially useful for recurring kidney infections, as well as more common mucus and colds. Harvest after flowering; wash, chop and dry.
How it works- It contains a number of complex immune-stimulating substances.
Comments and Cautions- A numbing of the tongue is normal when using liquid forms. Do not use it if you have an autoimmune disease or if you are allergic to plants in the daisy family. Echinacea may trigger autoimmune disorders in pregnant women. High doses can occasionally cause nausea and dizziness.
Some History: The Native Americans used purple coneflowers to treat snakebites, fevers, and old, stubborn wounds. The early settlers soon adopted the plant as a home remedy for colds and influenza, and it became popular with the 19th-century Eclectic. In the past 50 years, it has achieved worldwide fame for it's antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, and it has also been used in AIDS therapy. Cultivated purple coneflower is usually E. purpurea, although E. angustifolia is considered more potent by some practitioners.
More to come...