Top 10 Uses for Echinacea – As my own interest in alternative medicine and preventive therapies has increased, both for myself and that of my family, I’ve come across Echinaea – the herbal extract of purple coneflower, known by its Latin name Echinacea purpurea. You’ll see why it rises to the top of my list. Echinacea can be taken in various forms: juice, tea, caplets or extract form for topical application. It’s no longer just a “folk remedy;” research on this traditional folk medicine used by native Americans bears out the top uses below for the flower’s extract made from the flower cone, roots and leaves. Its most widely known benefit is the reduction of cold and flu symptoms – but wait until you see the other things it can do! It’s something I keep in my medicine cabinet “just in case.”
Echinacea can be taken orally or used topically for its anti-inflammatory and anti-germ benefits. It comes in capsules or liquid. Widely used as a preventive strategy, it also appears to stimulate the immune system in illness-prevention. I like it because it’s a gentle solution to a number of ongoing health issue we’re up against – it doesn’t merely treat symptoms. A brief look at my top ten uses of this miracle herb:
1. Skin irritations. For minor cuts, insect bites, and blemishes as well as herpes simplex and snake bites, Echinacea can provide immediate relief. Extract of Echinacea is widely available.
2. Chronic skin conditions. Eczema and psoriasis respond to this preventive when used over time.
3. Sunburns. After over-exposure to the sun, red skin heals more quickly with the application of this tincture.
4. Pain relief. Migraines, minor headache, depression and overall inflammation respond to Echinacea, most likely due to its overall effect on inflammation systemically. For these situations, it can be used in smaller doses preventively as well as on-the-spot treatment.
5. Constipation. Capsules containing Echinacea and other herbs effectively relief constipation without the harsh results of over-the-counter laxatives. Be patient – because it’s gentle, it also takes a little longer to work, but you’ll be glad to avoid cramping.
6. Immune system. Since the lymph system is what keeps us healthy, anything that supports it gets my vote. Staying healthy makes a lot more sense than fixing an infection or disease after it pops up.
7. General health. Since systemic inflammation has recently been shown to underlie lots of disorders, Echinacea as an inflammation-reducer is a powerful answer. This is one way it can be used on a regular basis as a preventive, most often in tea form.
8. Cold and flu symptoms. Sore throat, sinus swelling and congestion are all signs of cold and flu that Echinacea targets. We take it when we get the “signal” of a sore throat coming on.
9. Cancer prevention and treatment. Europeans have known for years the tincture of Echinacea is a valuable tool in health maintenance. I hope you never have to find out, but as an adjunct therapy for various forms of cancer, there’s plenty of evidence that it helps.
10. Toothache and gum disease. Due to its mild antiseptic properties, tincture of Echinacea can be used as a diluted mouth rinse. It aids in gingivitis by discouraging the growth of bacteria (plaque) and the hardening of plaque into tartar which inflames the gums, causes them to pull away from the enamel and weakens the tooth.
When you’re at the health food store next time, pick up some Echinacea in a bottle or Echinacea liquid tea formulation. I make sure to keep it handy, too!