Echinacea is a genus of flowering plant in the daisy family, native to North America. The plant includes nine species, with Echinacea purpura, Echinacea angstifolia and Echinacea felida being the most common for medicinal purposes.
Echinacea has a long history of use in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including infections, wounds, and snakebites. In modern times, it is primarily used as a dietary supplement to support the immune system and reduce symptoms and duration of colds and other respiratory infections.
Echinacea is believed to work by stimulating the immune system and increasing white blood cell production. It contains a variety of active compounds, including flavonoids, alkylamides, and polysaccharides, which are thought to contribute to its therapeutic effects.
While research on echinacea is ongoing, research suggests it may have potential benefits for reducing the frequency and severity of respiratory infections, as well as reducing inflammation and supporting wound healing. However, evidence for echinacea's effectiveness is mixed, and more research is needed to determine its optimal uses and dosages.
Echinacea is available in various forms, including teas, extracts and capsules.
In2007, a study by theUniversity of Connecticut that examined 14 studies on echinacea was published, and concluded that the use of the plant can halve the risk of developing colds and shorten the duration of the disease by 1.4 days. But Dr. Wallace Sampson ofStanford Universitywrote in the journal, Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, that he doubted the methodology used in the summary study.
Echinacea is a type of flowering plant that has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Some potential health benefits of echinacea include:
- Strengthening the immune system: Echinacea is often used to boost the immune system and prevent colds and other infections as it is believed to have immune-boosting properties.
- Reducing inflammation: Echinacea is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation in the body and improve overall health.
- Treatment of skin conditions: Echinacea is sometimes used topically to treat skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, as it is believed to have anti-inflammatory and moisturizing effects.
- Improving oral health: Echinacea is sometimes used to improve oral health as it is believed to have antimicrobial properties that may help prevent gum disease and other mouth infections.
- Relieving symptoms of respiratory conditions: Echinacea is sometimes used to relieve symptoms of respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis and sinusitis, as it is believed to have expectorant and decongestant effects.
Ina 2003,double-blindscientific study at theUniversity of VirginiaSchool of Medicine, echinacea extracts were found to have "no clinically significant effect" on infection rate or intensity of symptoms.
Echinacea was widely used as a medicinal plant among the Indan tribes of America. Before popular belief, the plant helped theimmune systemfight inflammation, infections and diseases.
It is important to note that while echinacea has been used for these purposes for centuries, more research is needed to understand its effects and benefits. As with any herbal supplement, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking echinacea, especially if you have a known medical condition, are taking medication, are pregnant, or lactating.