Lifestyle

Echinacea’s Immune-Building Superpowers

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According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, archeologists have found evidence that Native Americans may have used Echinacea or Purple Coneflower for more than 400 years to treat infections and wounds, and as a general “cure-all.” Today, people use echinacea to shorten the duration of the common cold and flu, to reduce symptoms, such as sore throat, cough, and fever. Many herbalists also recommend Echinacea to help boost the immune system and help the body fight infections.

PURPLE CONEFLOWER, ECHINACEA-IMMUNE BUILDER

Photo: Flickr/Internet Archive Book Images

As the flu and cold season approaches, get an early start on building and supporting your immune system by adding Echinacea to your vitamin regimen. Capsules from your local health food store can be purchased, so don’t wait until you are sick as prevention is the key here. Most echinacea capsules have goldenseal included, which is another popular herb to treat or help prevent colds.

EchinaceaPhoto: Flickr/Kristi

The original species is purple, hence the name purple coneflower, but with hybridizing it has blossomed into white, pink, yellow, orange, cream, and one that is almost red. The roots are the primary part of the plant that is harvested, even though home growers do use some of the flowers. If you grow your own plants, don’t harvest any roots for the first three years. Always leave part of the plant root in the ground when you harvest for future crops. Whether flowers or roots, you will want to dry them well. Be sure to wash the dirt off the roots then dry them.  Make sure you know how to prepare the dried plant parts for the most beneficial use of this mighty herb.

Always remember that anyone can have allergic reactions to products, especially to natural herbs. If you know you are allergic to this or other plants do not handle or ingest them without a doctor’s supervision. Be sure to consult with your physician before trying any natural supplements and remedies or before making changes to your healthcare routine.