Benefits of Echinacea! An Herb to Add to Your Home Apothecary
Let’s Talk Echinacea!
According to an eclectic physician by the name of A.M Liebstein in the early 1900‘s, “Nature has probably destined echinacea to be used for remedial purposes only, as sustainer of vitality, an organizer of the defensive powers of the system, to such an extent as to be justly crowned the greatest immunizing agent in the entire vegetable kingdom, as far as is known to medical science.”
- Echinacea is Anti–Viral which opposes the action of a virus.
- Echinacea is Anti–Venemous, which counteracts venom from bites and stings by absorbing or neutralizing it. Moistened powders can be used topically as a poultice as a general first aid measure.
- Echinacea is an Immunostimulant which enhances and increases the body’s immune defense mechanisms. Echinacea is a Lymphatic, which supports the flow of the lymphatic system, returning fluid to the blood.
- Echinacea is an Analgesic which relieves pain. An anodyne is a mild analgesic, taking the edge off pain making pain more bearable.
- Echinacea is an Antiseptic, an agent that combats and neutralizes pathogenic bacteria, preventing infection.
- Echinacea is a Vulnerary, which assists in wound healing by protecting against infection and stimulates cell growth.
- Echinacea is a Mucilant, which helps to protect mucous membranes and inflamed tissues. A mucilagenous herb is soft, slippery and nourishing to dry irritated tissue. Echinacea is also an acrid herb.
How does this magical medicinal plant work and where was it first discovered?
Echinacea or ‘natures immune enhancer’ helps the body fight viral infections and ultimately inhibits the spread of infection which is why we seek it out in the early stages of illness. Echinacea provides the ability to stimulate the production of white blood cells and the antibody formation needed to combat pathogens and bacteriostatic activity. Echinacea embodies immuno stimulant potential and provides a natural preventative for the cold season. When we strengthen our immune system we support the body’s connection and assimilation to its external environment.
According to Echinacea expert and herbalist, Steven Foster “Echinacea seems to stimulate a complement of non specific mechanisms such as phagocytes and macrophages which help to ingest and destroy invading particles. Echinacea helps to allay the spread of pathogens, rather than killing them outright, as an antibiotic would.” This approach to healing infectious ailments gives the body a chance to develop its own immunological function and strength without giving that task or opportunity away to a chemically created drug. I say work with the medicinal plant first before surrendering to the ‘big guns’ of modern medicine. You may be just as remarkably impressed and grateful as our family has become with the success in working with medicinal plants such as Echinacea.
Echinacea was first founded and worshipped by the Plains Indians of North America. This medicinal plant has been tribally revered as the cure for a plethora of ailments and diseases from snake bites to asthma, cancer and wounds of all kinds. If you should research information on the world wide web regarding Echinacea, you may find some unsettling talk about Echinacea as a dangerous herb. I dove a bit deeper seeking out why that may be and found that much of the derogatory talk about Echinacea is not only based on propaganda but also based on specific traffic sales of the medicine that now thrives as a big economic factor and stimulus in other parts of the world such as Germany. Although Echinacea was first discovered and grown wild in native North America, this medicinal plant has been interwoven quite dependably within the medical fabric of allopathic practices throughout Europe. We in America are trying to restore that sense of broken heritage when it comes to the camaraderie and partnership with this particular medicinal plant and natural healing in general.
On the precautionary side of things however, it is suggested by some herbalists to avoid immunostimulant herbs and plants in excess if you have auto immune diseases. Also, if you are particularly inclined to experiencing allergies to other compositae (aster family members) Echinacea does come from that same plant family, so see how your body responds to Echinacea first by smelling or sampling an insignificant amount. Lastly, immuno stimulant herbs are generally contraindicated in some cases of multiple sclerosis which involves a heightened immune response. It has been noted to use Echinacea cautiously with tuberculosis and diabetes mellitus due to the concern that immunostimulants may adversely affect the metabolism of that individual. This may inspire you to do more research and I highly recommend the resources listed below.
Echinacea works best in small frequent doses at the onset of a cold, cough, sores, irritations, flu or for wound healing. Echinacea should be taken when needed rather than on an ongoing, continuous basis. This is to respect the need and connection the body has for an herb providing specific immune support. Just like any medicine, allopathic or home based medicine, we respect the healing potential of a plant and avoid the overuse or abuse of it. This also enables us to learn more about the infinite possibilities of other nourishing and healing plants through the vast window of the botanical world.
When I first explored Echinacea, my whole body said ‘Yes’ to working close and comfortably with this plant. Since then, I have created various formulas with Echinacea to enhance and stimulate our family’s resistance against infections. Echinacea is a wonderful addition to herbal salves, teas, poultices and formulas. Our favorite go to formula we call ‘Medicine Kid’ which is 1/3 Echinacea Angustafolia Root. Medicine Kid is an herbal immune support that kids and families love!
If you haven’t tried our delicious herbal blend we call Medicine Kid yet, head over here to pick up a 4oz. bottle of our tasty immune support formula. Add sweet droplets under your tongue or to herbal teas when feeling run down or less than 100%.
Healing & Stoking the Creative Flame,
Resources and References:
- Echinacea by Steven Foster
- The ABC Herbal by Steven H. Horne
- The Little Herb Encyclopedia by Jack Ritchason N.D
- Back To Eden by Jethro Kloss
- National Geographic, Guide to Medicinal Herbs by Rebecca L. Johnston, Steve Foster, Tierona Low Dog M.D, & David Keifer, M.D