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What is Echinacea? Healing with Echinacea

Updated on December 2, 2013

What is Echinacea for?

Echinacea, sometimes called purple coneflower, is largely undervalued and often overlooked as a herbal remedy. A lot of people drink echinacea tea when they feel a cold coming on, but then, not realizing the full Echinacea effects and benefits, they store it away when they start to feel better. But Echinacea is more than just a cold fighter.

Often you'll find Echinacea and Goldenseal in the same herbal product because together, they pack a powerful punch.

Echinacea Extract

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Echinacea fights infections in a couple different ways. First by increasing the strength and amount of phagocytes (immune cells) your body produces by 30%. Phagocytes are the white blood cells that absorb bacteria and virus-infected cells and clear them from the body. Echinacea also contains a natural antibiotic that weakens germs ability to invade cells. Because of this, echinacea has gained the reputation of being a "blood purifier".

When taken at the first sign, frequent doses of echinacea can shorten the duration of the common cold. Sometimes, it can even prevent it altogether. It's also been used to treat strep throat, urinary tract infections, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and ear infections. To treat pink eye, make a weak tea and use it as an eye wash.

Echinacea Extract

Instead of using alcohol, this has a glycerin base. So it's even safe for kids!

Echinacea Root

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Echinacea Purpurea is used to not only cure yeast infections, but also to prevent reoccurring infections. Recently a German study found that by treating a yeast infection with both topical cream and echinacea supplements, you can lower the chance of a reoccurring yeast infection by 70%. It can also be useful in treating athlete's feet, thrush and other fungal infections.

Nature's Way Echinacea Root Complex

Of all the species of Echinacea, only 3 have any medicinal properties. These supplements contain 2 of the medicinally strongest echinacea plants, purpurea and angustifolia.

Echinacea Tea

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Echinacea doesn't just kill the germs in your body. It actually stimulates your body to produce more germ fighting cells so that your body can fight off the germs itself. It also helps strengthen the "protective gel" that surrounds your body's cells, making it harder for germs to invade and infect the cell.

For a stronger immune system, echinacea should be taken internally for a 10 day period once every month.

Echinacea Tea

Echinacea Soap

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Echinacea contains two compounds that help with numerous skin conditions. Echinacoside is a natural antibiotic, and echinacein helps to stimulate cell repair and growth. Numerous studies have found echinacea useful for treating cold sores, boils, acne, psoriasis, and herpes. It also has been shown to ease sunburns, infected eczema and skin irritations from poison ivy, oak and sumac.

When used on open sores, echinacea can prevent infection from occurring and also speed up the healing process. With continued use, it can help lessen the appearance of scars.

To use externally, apply an echinacea poultice or salve to the affected area.

How to take Echinacea

  • Echinacea is not acute acting. It needs to be taken in regular doses over a period of time to be effective.
  • If taken for longer than 8 weeks at a time, echinacea can weaken your body's immune system.
  • Do not use if you're allergic to sunflowers or daisies.
  • Do not use if you have diabetes, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, leukemia, connective tissue disorders, HIV or AIDS, any autoimmune diseases, or a liver disorder.

Echinacea is being studied as a treatment for cancer. Studies have shown that when taken in combination with cyclophosphamide, echinacea could possibly boost the body's immune system enough so that it could fight off the side effects from the chemo, while still allowing the chemo to attack and kill the cancer cells.

Alternative Herbal Recipes

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Echinacea works great as an ingredient in most home remedies. Drinking either echinacea tea or echinacea and goldenseal tincture will help cure any ailment, inside or out. For skin problems such as athlete's feet, acne, boils, eczema or psoriasis, you can easily incorporate echinacea into a salve, oil or wash.

Basic Ingredients

Where to find Echinacea

Frontier Echinacea Purpurea Herb C/s Certified Organic, 16 Ounce Bag
Frontier Echinacea Purpurea Herb C/s Certified Organic, 16 Ounce Bag

Although Echinacea Purpurea is easy to grow, you can just as easily order some dried Echinacea to use the same way.

 

Carrier oils

Baja Precious - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 750ml (25.3 Fl Oz)
Baja Precious - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 750ml (25.3 Fl Oz)

Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil works perfect as a base for medicinal remedies (like tinctures). Also works great as a base for salve.

 
Jean LeBlanc French Hazelnut Oil Stone Mill cold pressed 8 fl oz
Jean LeBlanc French Hazelnut Oil Stone Mill cold pressed 8 fl oz

Cold pressed hazelnut oil is best used as a base for massage oil. It has no scent or taste so it easily absorbs the Chamomile scent. It also penetrates easily and deeply.

 
Mantova Grapeseed Oil, 17-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 4)
Mantova Grapeseed Oil, 17-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 4)

Grapeseed oil works great as a base for massage, bath or cosmetic oils because it's a light oil and has very little scent.

 

This infused oil can be made into massage oil, salves, and many other things. If you plan on using this oil on your face, use apricot, hazelnut, or almond oil for the base. If you're planning on using this on your body, use olive oil.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried echinacea (coarsely ground)
  • enough oil to cover

Instructions

  1. 1. Place echinacea into a sterile glass jar. Add enough oil to completely cover the echinacea.
  2. 2. Seal, shake and place in a warm area.
  3. 3. Shake the oil once a day for two weeks. Also make sure to more add oil if needed.
  4. 4. At the end of two weeks, strain the oil into a clean amber bottle and store in the refrigerator.
  5. You should wear gloves during this entire process to make sure the oils from your hands don't contaminate the oil. Any contamination could result in mold.
Cast your vote for Echinacea Infused Oil
Echinacea Salve
Echinacea Salve

Echinacea Salve

This salve can be used for virtually any skin condition from bug bites and cuts, to eczema and athletes feet. Apply it directly to your skin several times a day.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Cocoa Butter
  • 1/4 cup Beeswax
  • 1/4 cup Echinacea Infused Oil

Instructions

  1. 1. Using an oven safe pan, melt the cocoa butter on top of the stove using low heat
  2. 2. Add beeswax and stir until melted
  3. 3. Add herbs and stir
  4. 4. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake at the lowest setting (around 200) for 3 hours
  5. 5. Let it sit a few minutes to cool slightly. Then transfer it to jars and let cool completely

Echinacea Poultice

This poultice can be applied directly to skin irritations, infections and cuts to help reduce the symptoms and stimulate healing.

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp dried powdered roots
  • enough hot water to make a paste

Instructions

  1. 1. Mix powdered echinacea with enough hot water to make a paste
  2. 2. Spread hot poultice mix onto a piece of cloth large enough to cover the affected area.
  3. 3. Immediately place poultice onto affected area and secure with another cloth.
  4. 4. First cover the cloth with saran wrap, then cover with a towel to help it retain heat.
  5. 5. When poultice has cooled, throw away (do not reheat and reapply under any circumstances).
  6. 6. Repeat every couple of hours.
Echinacea Tea
Echinacea Tea

Echinacea Tea

Echinacea tea can be used to heal many ailments. Most call for 3 cups a day to be drank. This tea can also be used externally as a wash for athletes feet, acne, boils and other skin problems.

  • Prep time: 1 min
  • Cook time: 9 min
  • Ready in: 10 min
  • Yields: 1

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp dried echinacea flowers
  • 1 cup of water

Instructions

  1. 1. Boil water. Remove from heat and add Echinacea flowers.
  2. 2. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
  3. 3. Strain and enjoy!

Echinacea and Goldenseal Tincture

Echinacea and Goldenseal are both powerful herbs on their own, but when added together, they pack a powerful punch.

For acute conditions, take 1/2 teaspoon every 2 hours.

For chronic conditions, take 1/2 teaspoon 3 times a day.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup fresh echinacea
  • 1/3 cup fresh goldenseal
  • 2 cups 100 proof vodka

Instructions

  1. 1. Finely chop echinacea and goldenseal and place in a glass jar.
  2. 2. Pour in vodka until herbs are completely covered. Vodka should sit an inch or two above the herbs.
  3. 3. Place a piece of plastic over the mouth of the jar (as a seal) and then seal tightly with lid. Shake well.
  4. 4. Keep the jar in a dark area and shake it once a day for 2 months, minimum.
  5. 5. After 2 months, strain the pulp out of the liquid and pour the tincture into amber colored glass bottles.
  6. 6. These will keep for up to 5 years if stored in a cool dark area.

Photos and text; © 2011-2013 Catherine Taylor. All Rights Reserved

Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Feel free to comment, but don't stop here. There's some great Echinacea recipes below!

Have you used echinacea for medicinal purposes?

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      dellgirl 6 years ago

      Great lens, very informative! Thank you for sharing this. Have a nice weekend.

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