Echinacea: Commonly known as the purple coneflower.
There are three main species known as Angustifloia, Purpurea and Pallida that are historically used for medicinal purposes. Native Americans were the first known group of people to use the root of this flower as medicine. Echinacea was adopted by the Eclectic medical practitioners in the late 19th century for many conditions and diseases. As a member of the Daisy family (Compositae) it can be found throughout North America, however it is most predominantly found in the northern great pains and Canada.
Some of the beneficial effects of Echinacea root supported by clinical trials are:
- Immunomodulatory or balancing highs and lows of the immune system
- Helps increase lymphatic drainage
- Increases phagocytosis or assists and increases the white blood cell function to seek out and destroy microbial invaders
Despite suggestions that Echinacea should only be taken for short term, there is no evidence to suggest the long term usage will have any adverse effect on the immune function.
If you choose to take Echinacea, make sure when reading the label it says “root” as there is very little evidence that the aerial parts or herb competent will have much medicinal value.