First, let’s get the pronunciation right, it is pronounced eh-kin-AY-sha. The echinacea herb is very important to grow in your herb garden for use in herbal medicine. By adding the echinacea herb to your herb garden not only will you be able to use it in your herbal medicine regime but you also gain a beautiful flowering herb.
It is mostly found in the Northern Plains and has been used by Native Americans for its healing power in herbal medicine. The Indians used the mashed roots on everything from wounds to snakebites. It was used as a mouthwash to help with painful teeth and gums. They brewed Echinacea herbs as teas for colds and other maladies, like measles and arthritis. The Indians prized this herb for its value in herbal medicine. They thought that the echinacea herb was a blood purifier.
As herbal medicine, the echinacea herb is useful in all its parts. It is a daisy like flower with a rich purple hue. This herb will outshine any other flowers in your herb garden. Monarch Butterflies will flock to your herb garden when you have included the Echinacea herb. The best time to dig up the plant is in the fall but be aware that it takes three years for the herb to be useful in herbal medicine.
In the later part of the 1990ís there were scads of studies that showed the usefulness of the echinacea herb for colds and flu. But there have also been studies that claim it as worthless. You will have to try it to see how it affects you.
The echinacea herb is a stimulant for the immune system. The herb boosts the ability of macrophages (infection fighting white blood cells) to fight off invading germs. When taking the echinacea herb as part of your herbal medicine regime, infections cased by viruses, bacteria and fungus will heal much faster than without it.
Typically the root is used in herbal medicine. If you eat the fresh root, you should get a numbing or tingling of the tongue. It will also increase the flow of saliva in your mouth. This is entirely normal and should cease in about 15 minutes. The echinacea herb is best used in its fresh state. So you see echinacea is important to add to your herb garden. When you plant echinacea in your herb garden you will be adding one more natural plant to use in your arsenal of herbal medicine.
With the echinacea herb the most commonly used in herbal medicine is the E. augustifolia. However, E. purpurea and E; pallida can be just as useful in herbal medicine if prepared correctly.
Another way to get the benefits from the echinacea herb is to make a tincture, (look for my article on How To Make Tinctures). In a glass of fruit juice add up to 30 drops in the juice and take it three times a day. Adjust the dosage if you become nauseous. And, as in all things in life, you can get to much of a good thing. If you take the echinacea herb over too long a period of time, you will over stimulate your immune system. So, take a break when your symptoms start to dissipate.
There are some people that should not use echinacea in their herbal medicine routine. No one with auto-immune disease should take the herb since it could potentially aggravate that disease. And people with HIV should not take echinacea because by stimulating the immune system you may also stimulate the virus. It is most important to always check with your doctor before starting any herbal medicine regime.
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