Echinacea supplements continue to be one of the top two selling herbal supplements, along with goldenseal. It is one of the most famous of all the immune system herbs that has been used by many ancient civilizations throughout history.
In fact, studies have proven the unique immune building and healing properties of both herbs. In combination, they offer a powerhouse of medicinal value that builds the immune system, suppresses viruses, destroys bacteria and fights infections. Each, however, has its own vital properties that make it a valuable herb in its own right.
Echinacea has been around long enough to prove its supreme worth among the best herbal medicines. It was a regular favorite of Native American Indians, settlers of the Midwest and early doctors of the American frontier. It was used to treat snakebites, wounds and general infections.
Best Herb for Building Immunity
Today, echinacea is one of the most popular herbs in the world because, according to researchers, it really does work. There are nine Echinacea species, but Echinacea angustifolia, E. pallida, and E. purpurea are the only 3 that are regularly used as herbal medicines.
- Builds immunity by stimulating the cells of the immune system that fights infection
- Boosts the production of interferon in the cells which fights off viruses
- Fights upper respiratory infections such as colds and the flu
- May elevate white blood cell following radiation treatments
- Helps to fight cancer
- Can help in healing of wounds, eczema, boils, and cold sores
- Can be used as a treatment for tonsillitis. (Gargle a diluted herbal tincture for good results.)
Possible side effects from taking this herb include nausea, rash headache, dizziness, liver inflammation and imbalance of blood sugar levels. It can also interfere with certain medications such as antibiotics.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, tuberculosis and other autoimmune disorders can be compounded with its use.
It can interact with other substances that affect the liver, such as alcohol or other nutritional supplements. A woman shouldn’t take it if trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding.
While it’s important to be aware of possible side effects, most people tolerate this herb quite well. Be sure to discuss the use of echinacea with your health care professional or naturopathic doctor. If you have any concerns or notice any serious reactions, discontinue use immediately.
- Liquid or tincture
- Dried herb or tea
- Pressed juice
- Colds or flu – 200 mg 5 times a day in tablet form; as a pressed juice, use 6 to 9 ml in several doses over a 5-7 day period; as a tea, simmer 2 tsp. of powdered herb in one cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes once a day for 5-7 days.
- Pollen allergies – 250 mg twice a day in combination with 250 mg of goldenseal twice a day for 30 days. For best results, start this herbal remedy for allergies approximately two weeks before allergy season hits and continue for two more weeks. You can use it for both spring and fall allergies.
Did you know?
Even though echinacea is a powerful, effective herb you can get too much of a good thing. It should be used no more than 8 weeks at a time. Take off at least a week before taking it again. Studies have shown that the immune boosting power of an echinacea supplement seems to diminish when in continuous use over a long period of time.