Echinacea is one of those very well known herbs that can overwhelm you with the sheer number of benefits. It is the best sold herbal supplement in the USA, and for a good reason! Why the surging popularity in this magnificently attractive flower? Because echinacea benefits our health and well-being like few plants on the planet. Well researched and documented, here are the main benefits:
Echinacea has long been esteemed as a powerful immune system stimulator providing significant therapeutic value. It is perhaps most famous for its ability to cut the chances of catching the common cold by up to 58% and in reducing its duration by 1 – 2 days.
White blood cells and spleen cells increase after using Echinacea and the core body temperature rises. A higher body temperature speeds up the workings of disease-fighting cells and immune responses increase – this effect resulting in a double attack against disease-causing germs and viruses.
Echinacea also contains a compound called echinacein, which can help against bacterial and viral infections. According to a study in Pharmaceutical Biology, Echinacea exhibited antimicrobial properties and is effective against 15 different pathogenic bacteria and two pathogenic fungi.
Fascinating research about echinacea benefits regarding brain cancer has been published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study concluded that Echinacea extracts slowed the growth of malevolent tumor cells, blocking the cancer’s ability to spread.
Additionally, since echinacea contains antioxidants it can help repair your cells. Antioxidants destroy the toxins (free radicals) that age and damage the cells in our body prematurely.
Because of the antioxidants in Echinacea, drinking Echinacea extract or taking a high-quality supplement can contribute to healthy cell growth in your body.
This relieves another issue since cancer treatments tend to weaken the immune system and kill off some of our healthy cells, so drinking Echinacea may help to counter some of those side effects.
Echinacea’s history began when it was used by the Great Plains Indians as a painkiller. It’s an especially effective natural pain reliever for the following types:
- Pain in the bowels
- Pain associated with headaches
- Pain associated with HSV (herpes)
- Pain associated with gonorrhea
- Pain associated with measles
- Snake bites
- Sore throats
- Stomach ache
Some common ways to use Echinacea to combat pain is to drink it as a tea, or even make a paste out of the dried herb and rub it directly on the area that is affected.
Because of its immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory effects, echinacea can be used to relieve the following upper respiratory symptoms:
- Acute sinusitis
- All flu’s
- Common cold
- Strep throat
- Whooping cough
Like many herbs, echinacea is particularly healing for the stomach and the entire gastrointestinal tract. According to Medical Herbalism, for example, echinacea can be used as a mild natural laxative to provide natural constipation relief and as a calming agent.
Drinking the herbal tea is especially effective to help with this issue. For more chronic conditions, a cup of tea every day can help loosen the bowels — whereas 2–3 cups per day can help with sudden bouts. However, be sure not to overuse echinacea, keeping watch to limit your tea to two cups a day max when using it for a longer period.
Arguably the number one killer worldwide, inflammation is at the root of most diseases. Various factors — including stress, toxins in our food and poor sleep — all contribute heavily to our bodies. Thankfully, as explained by the University of British Columbia, regular echinacea consumption can effectively reverse and alleviate various types of inflammation.
It’s a good idea for people who struggle with conditions that are caused or worsened by inflammation, like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, and many more to regularly consume this plant.
Echinacea’s ability to increase hyaluronic acid production also makes it a great herb for cases of ligament, cartilage or joint injury and arthritis. When joints are damaged either by injuries or by the inflammatory processes of arthritis, they need hyaluronic acid to repair effectively. Echinacea comes to the rescue by stimulating the cells that make cartilage and repairing those painful joints and ligaments.
Anxiety and Mental health
Echinacea can be an excellent herb for those that battle with anxiety.
It helps regulate the synapses that aid communication between your body and brain. While it can’t turn off the “fear reflex” that people who have anxiety attacks experience, it can limit the physical effects of your fears and help you to feel calmer.
Additionally, Echinacea is the recommended plant to help with specific problems related to ADD/ADHD, and it is considered one of the natural remedies for ADHD.
Both adults and children suffering from ADD/ADHD have a higher-than-normal chance of experiencing emotional disturbances, especially:
- Social phobias
Again, dosage is key. It’s recommended to only take 20 drops/2 cups at a time and no more. In fact, taking more than that can actually cancel out the echinacea benefits that relieve anxiety.
Lowers blood pressure
With its high amounts of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, echinacea helps lower blood pressure levels. Anxiety and stress also play an important in high blood pressure, so the effects of Echinacea contribute to controlling it in various ways.
Lowers Blood sugar
The antioxidant properties in Echinacea purpurea are unique. A 2017 study showed that Echinacea in your bloodstream can help keep your blood sugar from spiking if you’re diabetic or prediabetic. It can also keep your blood sugar from plummeting if you are hypoglycemic. It certainly isn’t a replacement for insulin therapy or other diabetes treatments, but drinking Echinacea tea or extract is a great way that you can naturally help control your blood sugar levels.
Echinacea benefits the skin superbly. In a paper prepared by Armando González Stuart, PhD, about herbal safety, it describes how echinacea has been used by various Native American tribes to treat:
- Poisonous bites
- Inflammatory skin conditions
- Snake bite
- Skin infections
- Wound healing
It can also be used to help the healing of wounds, regenerate skin and keep it healthy and young!
Echinacea is also a fantastic remedy for a whole slew of infections. According to the NIH, taking echinacea and applying a medicated cream to the skin can lower the rate of reoccurring vaginal infections by to 16 percent, compared to simply taking the medicine alone. It’s also known to help with:
- Bloodstream infections
- Genital herpes
- Gum disease
- Urinary tract infections
- Vaginal yeast infections