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Echinacea: Not Just For Colds

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 7

Echinacea1

As a firm believer in herbal remedies, I have confirmed, through much research and regular use, that Echinacea has to be one of the safest and most beneficial of herbs.  This herb can be easily spotted as an ornamental flower in many gardens. It seems that most people don’t really know how extensively that Echinacea can benefit us. Echinacea has been advertised mostly as a cold/flu or upper respiratory remedy, when in fact, it goes beyond that for this well-known herb. 

Echinacea has a long list of abilities and qualities that make it an excellent herb for regular use.  Not only does it fight viruses and colds but helps stop tumor growth.  It acts like a natural antibiotic but in a way that is a preventative as well as a remedy when you are sick.  It fuels the white blood cells so they can fight against infection.

Native American Indians were the first to discover Echinacea. There were about 14 different tribes all over North America that used this herb for many different reasons. This herb was taught, among many others, to the New World settlers by the Native American’s.

It’s important to realize that Echinacea is not meant to replace antibiotics but taken so you will have less need for them. Antibiotics are over used in many cases and this misuse does more harm than good.

Echinacea flower

Besides the common ailments that Echinacea is well known for, there are many others you may not be aware of. One of the most surprising remedies Echinacea can be used for is bites and stings. Echinacea is known to work well for rattlesnake bites. To help with this serious bite, it would be necessary to take internally and to put full strength of the herb directly on the wound. You would have to take a full strength dose from the root of the plant and apply as a poultice to help remove the poison from a snake bite. This herb can also be used to heal most wounds and it’s highly recommended to keep it in powder form in your first aid kit at all times. It can be sprinkled on wounds before you dress them.  It does lose it potency quickly so be sure to replace it yearly.

Some other unusual uses that Echinacea can be used for are food poisoning, allergies, arthritis, pelvic inflammatory disease, herpes, and some staph infections such as impetigo.

 How to make your own liquid Echinacea (This is very easy!)

4-8 oz dried Echinacea – This should be fresh and be ground or parts

16 oz 80-100 proof vodka

 

Use any jar like a mason jar with a nice fitted lid. Pour the vodka over the Echinacea, put the lid on and shake it up every day for 6 weeks. It should be kept in a cool dark place.  After the 6 weeks is up, strain the Echinacea. You can use a coffee filter or cheesecloth to do this.  The extract should be put in amber bottles with a dropper lid. This will be potent for up to three years.  Make sure you label the bottles with herb name and date.

 

Echinacea is labeled safe but many people do not realize that it’s not safe for those with immune deficiency diseases. This includes any disease one has that attacks the immune system such as AIDS In these cases, you would not want to build up your immune system.

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Comments

Oct 9, 2013 7:15pm
PracticeSurvivalcom
How do you use that Echinacea liquid? Is it a topical? Are you drinking it?

Oct 10, 2013 3:40am
ladybugblue
I f you have a sore throat, you can put a couple drops directly in your mouth. I usually add drops to hot or cold tea. The powdered root of the plant can be kept in your first aid kit for emergencies for open wounds. You don't need to use that much. When I make it I usually make two 1 oz dropper bottles. They will last me a couple of years.
I was sick all the time until I started using this herb. It is very safe, I gave it to my kids when they were very young so that they wouldn't catch colds and flus from school.
Oct 31, 2013 6:54am
Tina_V
What a great article - good information.
In my home we have used Echinacea when we feel a cold or scratchy throat coming on. However ours is in supplement form. I have been a gardener for several years now and believe that the fresher the better. Do you know if the Echinacea that we find in seed packets or nurseries can be used in the fashion you have described here in your article?
Nov 3, 2013 8:49am
ladybugblue
Thanks, Tina, for your interest in the article and your comments. If you are growing by seed, I recommend that you buy organic seeds for healthy and pesticide free plants. Yes, any three types of Echinacea (Purpurea, Pallida or Angustifolia).. There are actually 9 species but these 3 I mentioned are the ones which have been used over the years. Echinacea Purpurea is the easiest to grow. You are very right about fresher being better. Echinacea loses important properties with each type of processing.
Nov 13, 2013 4:44am
Tina_V
Thank you for the information. I will be looking for the organic seeds for my garden/flower beds.
Keep up the good work, the articles are very interesting:)
Have a great day
May 31, 2014 9:54am
Ruby3881
I've noticed a lot of the warnings we used to see associated with echinacea are no longer being issued. We used to see no prolonged use, no use in children, and no use by pregnant or breastfeeding women. For the latter, it would seem caution should be exercised.

In terms of prolonged use: I've found at least one doctor who believes that use over periods of more than eight weeks should be avoided because at this point its effects switch from stimulating and supporting immune response, to suppressing it.
Jun 3, 2014 4:02am
ladybugblue
Echinacea will not suppress the immune system unless you have an auto-immune deficiency disease. This is the only time it is not recommended to take. It is safe for most anyone but if you take it non-stop, your body will get used to the dosage and it will not be effective. Best to take it in an on/off way. At the sign of a cold, take it for 2 weeks and go off of it for two weeks. I also take it if someone becomes ill who I am in contact with . Fifteen years ago I was ill with colds all the time, I read an article on echinacea, and then immediately started doing research on it. I rarely get sick and make my own from organic Echinacea. Christopher Hobbs (4th generation Herbalist) has a book on this herb which I read at the time. It's always important to conduct your own research with herbs.
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Bibliography

  1. Alma R. Hutchins Indian Herbalogy of North America. Boston: Shambhala , 1973.

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