The Echinacea plant is a well-known herb to boost immune function and to help treat the onset of cold and flu symptoms, but it is helpful for many other issues including: stings and bites, blood infections, strep throat, and abnormal pap smears. It has been used by Native Americans to cure a wide variety of issues, notably the treatment of rattle snake bits, which is how it got the name “snake root”. The rich purple flower is seated at the base of a large black cone. Harvest the roots of E. angustfolia in spring or fall and the flower of E. purpurea after the seeds mature on the cone while the flower petals are still present. E. angustifolia is overused and over harvested making it an endangered herb in the wild, and it is difficult to propagate. When you buy it, be sure to find it from a reputable source, ethically and sustainably harvested. E. angustifolia can be substituted by E. purpurea in most instances. E. purpurea is easily propagated and the blossoms return year after year.
Echinacea is an immune stimulant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and normalizes cells. It has been shown in clinical studies to boost white blood cell production allowing the body to better fight off pathogens. It increases cellular resistance to viruses and activates macrophages that destroy both cancerous cells and pathogens.
It is commonly mis-understood that people should take Echinacea daily to prevent disease, but this is not the case. Echinacea should be taken at the FIRST SIGN of cold, flu, strep throat, or any other infection but it should not be taken daily as a preventative. You will just be wasting a natural resource that is depleting rapidly and doing yourself no favors. In the instance of extended immune deficiency an extended course of Astragalus followed by a shorter term course of Echinacea is recommended.
Onset of cold and flu:
Echinacea should be used at the very early onset of a cold or flu when you just start to feel that yuck that precedes illness. It is at this point that Echinacea is most effective as long as the immune system is relatively healthy. Take in large doses frequently (40-60 drops tincture 3x a day). Lower doses have been shown ineffective in clinical trials. Once the full onset of symptoms occur Echinacea will not be as effective.
Direct contact with the tissue at the back of the throat with a tincture of Echinacea liberally mixed with saliva is a wonderful treatment for strep throat. 40-60 drops of the tincture gurgled at the back of the throat before swallowing. Gurgle with the tincture every hour until symptoms cease. A positive result should occur within 24 and 48 hours. If the infection persists seek advice from a medical professional.
Abnormal Pap Smear
This is where you NEED to use E. angustifolia. Echinacia has been proven to correct dysplasia. According to “Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives For Treating Drug Resistant Bacteria” BY Stephen Harrod Buhner p.27 “whenever echinacea is placed directly on cells that are displaying abnormal properties, the cells tend to return to normal relatively quickly as long as treatment is assertive and consistant.” take a look at his book to see how best to treat this.
Echinacea’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and cell-normalizing abilities make this an excelent addition to a healing salve. It has a long history of successful treatment of venomous stings and bites from bees, rattlesnakes, and scorpions. Anything found in the southwest naturally. Obviously, if you are bitten or stung by a venimous creature, seek medical attention immediately, but if you are out on a hike this is a great first aid treatment for immediate application. Chew up echinacia root or flower and create a spit poultice. Place directly onto wound and seek medical attention. You can also mix an alcohol tincture with water at a 1:1 ratio and wash affected area liberally every 30 minutes.
Blood poisoning, mastitis, strep and staph infections, pneumonia and other systemic infections. According to “Wise Woman Herbal” by Susan Weed “If child-bed fever seems likely for any reason (clean conditions were impossible to maintain, you are severely run-down or malnourished, etc.), a week’s course of Echinacea will decrease the possibility of infection”. It is also a good fever reducer when combined with fennel and peppermint.
Echinacea is non-toxic and has few side effects. It is a stimulant. It should not be used if you are getting sick repeatedly and are only using Echinacea to stave off illness without taking the time to make yourself healthy through other means like rest, proper diet, exercise, and other immune boosting habits. Rarely joint pain may occur with large doses taken for extended period of time.
How do you use Echinacea?
Be sure you get your herbs from a trusted source. I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs (an affiliate) and can not tell you how happy I am with the quality of their herbs.
*This is not intended as medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Consult your physician, natropathic doctor, or herbalist before beginning any new course of treatment*
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