Echinacea, also known as coneflower, is a purple flower that is commonly grown in woods and fields throughout North America. The Echinacea plant is used as a dietary supplement today. The plant comes in nine varieties, but only two of them, Echinacea Purpurea and Echinacea Angustifolia are commonly used in supplements. While most echinacea supplements are in pill form, the plant can also be found in teas, juices, and creams.
Health Benefits of Echinacea
Prevents Common Cold and Flu
The most common application of echinacea is to treat colds. Taking echinacea vitamins strengthens your immune system thus assisting you in the fight against viruses and bacteria that cause colds and flu. Some people take echinacea when the first sign of cold appears, hoping to prevent it from developing. Others take echinacea after their cold symptoms have begun in the hope that it will make their symptoms less severe.
The echinacea plant contains chemicals that aid in the production of white blood cells in the body. When your upper respiratory tract, nose, mouth, and throat, become infected, these white blood cells fight infection as part of your immune system. As a result, echinacea can reduce the risk of catching a cold by 45% to 58%.
It appears that taking 10 milligrams of echinacea vitamins per kilogram of body weight daily for 10 days is effective as an immunity stimulant. When started at the first sign of infection, it can reduce the severity and duration of flu symptoms while also preventing adverse effects.
Fights off Infections
Echinacea may aid in the fight against a wide range of infections. It is used in the treatment of urinary tract infections, ear infections, and slow-healing wounds or cuts. When compared to taking the medicine alone, taking Echinacea and applying a medicated cream to the skin can reduce the rate of reoccurring vaginal infections by up to 16 per cent. The plant is also beneficial in curing bloodstream infections, genital herpes, gum disease, malaria, syphilis, typhoid, urinary tract infections, and vaginal yeast infections.
Echinacea’s history began when the Great Plains Indians used echinacea purpurea as a pain reliever. Along with natural magnesium oil, this plant can be especially effective to release pain associated with headaches. It can also relieve pain in the bowels, pain associated with HSV (herpes), pain associated with gonorrhea, pain associated with measles, as well as snake bites, sore throats, stomach aches, tonsillitis, and toothache.
Some common ways to use echinacea products to relieve pain include drinking herbal echinacea tea or making a paste out of the dried herb and rubbing it directly on the affected area.
Inflammation is at the root of most diseases and is arguably the leading cause of death worldwide. Stress, toxins in our food, and lack of sleep are all factors that contribute. Regular echinacea consumption can effectively reverse and alleviate various types of inflammation.
Taking echinacea vitamins may even help with uveitis or eye inflammation. People suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, should drink herbal tea regularly to reduce system-wide inflammation.
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar levels can put you at risk for serious health problems. This includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a variety of other chronic diseases. echinacea plants can help lower blood sugar levels.
An echinacea purpurea extract suppresses enzymes that digest carbohydrates. If consumed, this would reduce the amount of sugar in your blood. Moreover, echinacea extracts made cells more sensitive to the effects of insulin by activating the PPAR-y receptor, which is a common target of diabetes drugs. This receptor functions by removing excess fat from the blood, which is a risk factor for insulin resistance. This also facilitates cell responses to insulin and sugar.
Improves Mental Health
Echinacea angustifolia is the recommended species for specific ADD/ADHD ailments. Adults and children with ADD/ADHD have a higher-than-normal risk of experiencing emotional disturbances, like anxiety, depression and social phobias.
Once again, the dosage is critical. It is recommended that people take no more than 20 milligrams at a time. Taking more than 20 milligrams per dose can cancel out the anti-anxiety effects of echinacea.
Improves Upper Respiratory Issues
Echinacea’s immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties may help to alleviate the following upper respiratory symptoms: Sinusitis (acute), Asthma is the cause of all flu, the common cold, Croup, Diphtheria, inflammation, strep throat, tuberculosis, and whooping cough.
When properly consumed, echinacea can perform similarly to traditional synthetic drugs in treating asthma. However, echinacea tablets are the way to go for more serious health issues because drinking tea, for example, is not concentrated enough.
Eczema, or skin inflammation, may benefit from a cream containing echinacea extract. Using echinacea cream daily helps soothe eczema-related irritation while also helping to build up the skin’s protective outer layer. It’s also important to be aware of potential allergic reactions, as people with eczema are prone to allergies and asthma.
Research about echinacea’s benefits regarding brain cancer states that the medicinal value of phytochemicals contained in echinacea may be valuable tools to combat tumours. As a result, using echinacea as another alternative cancer treatment is now recommended alongside conventional therapy.
Risks & Side Effects
Echinacea may have health benefits and rarely causes side effects. However, some patients may be at risk. For instance, injected echinacea can cause more severe reactions, such as diarrhoea, disorientation, dizziness, dry mouth, fever, headache, insomnia, joint and muscle aches, nausea, numbness of the tongue, sore throat, stomach pain, unpleasant taste and vomiting.
People who take medications that suppress the immune system should avoid taking echinacea supplements because they may interfere with the medication. People with tuberculosis, leukaemia, diabetes, HIV or AIDS, and any other autoimmune disease are included. People who have had organ transplants should also avoid taking echinacea products.
Although it is uncommon, allergic reactions to echinacea are possible. Echinacea may cause mild reactions, but it can cause anaphylaxis-loss of breathing in severe cases. People who have asthma or other allergies are more vulnerable. This is especially true for people who are allergic to daisy plants.
Echinacea Amounts & Dosage
When it comes to echinacea, there is no standard recommended dose. This is because echinacea supplements come in a variety of forms, such as pills, juices, and creams. Before using, read the product label carefully and consult your doctor. Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, do not take echinacea for more than two weeks. If your supplements cause stomach upset, take them with food and water.