Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs in the natural health market. It is used for many different reasons and benefits, from helping fight cancer to relieving pain.
Historically, Native Americans have valued echinacea for its medicinal properties. Today, more people are using it to help stave off colds and support their immune system.
It Fights Infections
Echinacea is a powerful immune-boosting herb that can help your body fight off infections. This flowering plant is one of the most commonly used herbal remedies in the world, and it works by stimulating your immune system to create white blood cells that engulf and kill troublesome viruses and bacteria.
Many people use it as a preventative medicine to avoid getting a cold in the first place. It also helps reduce the symptoms of a cold when you do get it.
The active ingredients in echinacea have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant properties that help the body heal itself. The herb is also beneficial for pain and wound management, as well as reducing the risk of catching snake and bee stings.
It is important to note that echinacea can have some negative side effects, including allergic reactions. If you have allergies or asthma, talk to your doctor before taking it.
In addition, echinacea may interact with certain drugs and supplements. It can interfere with immunosuppressive medications, such as those used to treat cancer or suppress the immune system after organ transplants. It is best to avoid echinacea if you have tuberculosis, leukemia, diabetes, connective tissue disorders, multiple sclerosis, HIV or AIDS, or any autoimmune disease.
If you are taking an immunosuppressant, take the herbs or supplement at least a day before or after the medication. Likewise, it is recommended that you wait at least two weeks after stopping the medicine before taking it again.
You should also consult with a doctor or health care practitioner before using herbs and supplements, especially when you are pregnant, nursing, or have any medical conditions. Herbalists are experts in the field of botanical medicine, and they can recommend the right herbs to use for your specific needs.
Some studies have shown that echinacea can protect against certain viruses, particularly coronaviruses. For example, a study found that it can protect against COVID-19, which causes severe respiratory illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis.
However, this research has not been peer-reviewed and does not confirm that echinacea can cure COVID-19. It is also possible that echinacea could be harmful to people who already have autoimmune diseases, so it is important to check with your doctor before taking it.
It Reduces Cold Symptoms
Echinacea is a common herb that contains a wide variety of chemicals that stimulate your immune system and help fight infections. It also reduces inflammation, which can cause pain and discomfort. It is used to treat a wide range of health conditions, including colds and flu, as well as sore throat, cough, and fever.
Several different species of the plant (or coneflowers) are used to make echinacea preparations, which are marketed as dietary supplements and for topical use on wounds. The plants have pink or purple petals that surround a spiky, dark brown or red seed head.
The flowers of all the species of echinacea plant contain phenols, which control the activity of a range of enzymes and cell receptors. These phenols have antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties.
Some studies have found that echinacea can decrease your risk of developing the common cold and shorten the length of a cold. It can also reduce your risk of other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu and a chest infection called bronchitis.
But whether echinacea can prevent or cure colds is controversial, and the results of many clinical trials are mixed. Some researchers have found that echinacea reduces your risk of getting a cold by 58%, but others have not seen any difference in the number of colds you get or how long they last.
To treat a cold, you can take echinacea in various forms, such as tinctures, tablets or liquids. Dosages vary depending on the product you are using, but you should start taking it early in the course of a cold. You may need to take multiple doses for the first few days of a cold to see the most benefit.
When you are starting to take echinacea, talk with your doctor about how much to take and how long to take it for. You should also ask about possible side effects, such as an allergic reaction or a bad taste in your mouth.
Some people also take echinacea to improve their energy levels or lower their blood sugar. This is because high blood sugar raises your risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes. In test-tube studies, echinacea has been shown to suppress enzymes that digest carbohydrates, which can increase your energy and reduce your blood sugar level.
It Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s response to infection and other stresses. Chronic inflammation can lead to a variety of diseases, including heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Echinacea helps reduce the inflammation that causes these illnesses.
It’s also been used for years to fight infections and boost the immune system. Manufacturers say it works against a variety of conditions, from colds and flu to herpes and HIV/AIDS. It’s also used for pain and to treat wounds.
Some laboratory research has shown that echinacea can increase immune cells and prevent inflammation. But it’s not clear if this is true in people.
Taking echinacea may reduce the effects of medicines that suppress your immune system (immunosuppressants), which are usually used to treat diseases like tuberculosis, leukemia or diabetes. You should always check with your doctor before taking any supplements to make sure they are safe for you.
Although it’s not a common problem, it’s possible that taking echinacea can cause an allergic reaction in some people. This could be mild or severe, and it’s usually more likely to happen in people with asthma or allergies.
A study found that echinacea extracts reduced inflammation in guinea pigs after both topical and oral use. These effects were similar to those of salbutamol, a drug that’s often used for asthma.
Echinacea can inhibit cyclooxygenase, an enzyme that makes inflammatory compounds such as prostaglandins and thromboxane. These are the same compounds that are targeted by many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin and ibuprofen.
This is why it’s not recommended for people with autoimmune disorders or those who take immunosuppressants. You should also talk to your doctor before using echinacea if you have allergies or asthma.
Lastly, echinacea can help with insulin resistance, which is a condition that can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. It has been shown to increase the activity of insulin in fat cells, which may improve your glucose levels in the blood.
There are no studies that show echinacea can prevent or cure any illness, but it can help you feel better after an illness. It’s also good for reducing the symptoms of certain conditions, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
It Reduces Pain
Echinacea is an herb that has been used for hundreds of years as a natural treatment for pain. It is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and relieves symptoms of colds, flus and other illnesses. It can also be used to help with inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.
The herb is safe for most people to take and has a very low risk of side effects. However, it is a good idea to check with your doctor before taking it if you are on any prescription drugs or have any medical conditions.
Herbalists recommend taking a small amount of echinacea daily, based on your needs. You should never take more than the recommended dose.
Some people who take echinacea may experience an allergic reaction. This is most likely to happen in children and adults who have an allergy to ragweed, mums, marigolds or daisies. It may also occur in people with a genetic tendency toward allergies (called atopy).
In addition to treating colds, flus, and other infections, echinacea has a number of other medicinal uses. Some of them include anxiety, asthma, low white blood cell count, high cholesterol, herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, shingles, and human papilloma virus (HPV).
It can also be taken to improve sleep. Studies have shown that getting enough rest can make your immune system function better, which in turn can help you avoid catching a cold.
Echinacea is a common ingredient in teas, tablets and supplements that are sold in stores. It is a versatile and effective herbal medicine that can be found in many different forms and dosages.
The root is the most effective, but the leaves and flowers also have benefits. All three varieties contain phenols, an antioxidant compound that protects the plant from environmental damage and infection.
Phenols are also thought to stimulate the immune system, helping it fight off infections and boost energy levels. This herb can also be used to treat other inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
You can buy echinacea in the form of a liquid or tablet, in capsules or as an oral spray. You can also buy it as a topical cream or oil.