Health Tips: A Guide To Echinacea

Echinacea is a wonderful healing herb used worldwide. First used by Native Americans, studies have proven many benefits of echinacea.

Echinacea is a very popular herb and it is used throughout the world. It is also known as purple cone flower, Sampson root, black Sampson and red sunflower.

Echinacea was first used in the United States by Native Americans who lived on the Great Plains. They used the herb to heal wounds, including snake bites. The root of the plant was used to treat toothaches, sore throats and other irritations in the mouth.

American settlers learned about echinacea from the Native Americans. The herb was later introduced in Europe.

All parts of the echinacea plant are used, including the leaves, roots and purple flowers. Echinacea has been well researched and many studies have been conducted to test the curative properties of the herb.

Echinacosides are in the roots and flowers of echinacea, while the leaves of the plant contain polysaccharide heteroxylan.

Today, echinacea is widely used and its healing and infection-fighting properties are well known. Many of the herb's benefits have been proven by scientists and the medical community.



Numerous studies have shown echinacea to be effective in strengthening the body's immune system. This may be the result of the herb's ability to prevent the formation of an enzyme known as hyaluronidase. This enzyme is thought to destroy the body's natural barrier between healthy body tissues and infecting organisms. Without the interference of the enzyme, the body is able to defend itself, especially against viruses.

Another way echinacea helps the body to fight infection, is through the stimulation of the liver, lymph glands and mucous membranes.

It has been well documented that echinacea is valuable in boosting the immune system of cancer patients, especially after chemotherapy treatment.

Research suggests that echinacea extract may be helpful in slowing tumor growth, and destroying such viruses as herpes and certain strains of influenza. Root extracts may also alleviate or lessen the symptoms of colds, flu and other respiratory infections. In fact, studies have demonstrated echinacea's effectiveness against bacterial, fungal and viral infections.

Applied topically, echinacea has been used to treat skin problems, such as eczema and psoriasis. The herb is sometimes combined with an antifungal agent, and also has been used to treat the overgrowth of candida.

In the past, echinacea has been used to treat typhoid, diphtheria, syphilis and gangrene. Combined with myrrh, it was believed to reduce fevers.

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Possible benefits of echinacea:

1. Strengthens the immune system.

2. Promotes healing.

3. Fights bacterial infections.

4. Fights viral infections.

5. Fights fungal infections.

6. May help heal burns.

7. May soothe insect bites and stings, including those from poisonous insects.

8. May help sinus infections.

9. May help kidney infections.

10. May help bladder problems.

11. May lessen flu and cold symptoms.

12. May help heal fever blisters.

13. May reduce inflammation.

14. May help skin problems, including abrasions, wounds, eczema, acne, boils and psoriasis.

15. May help in cases of peritonitis.

16. Used as a gargle, may help heal and soothe a sore throat.

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Echinacea is available in several forms, including extracts, pills, lozenges, tablets, capsules and tinctures. In combination with other healing agents, it is available in ointment form.

Note: Some doctors caution that long-term use of echinacea may cause the immune system to overreact. Intermittent use is often recommended. Check with your doctor before using it.

Echinacea is one of Nature's finest gifts!

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