Herbal Help: Echinacea

Apr 14, 2016

Naturopath and Nutritionist

The beautiful Asteraceae has more to boast about than just it’s good looks. Echinacea or the Purple Coneflower is a herbalist’s go-to immune tonic. There are many species of Echinacea, which belong to the daisy family. Their distinguishing feature is a spiky looking central disc, which is why it’s generic name, Echinos, is derived from the Greek word meaning hedgehog. 

Botanical name: 
Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea purpurea

Common name: 
Coneflower, Narrow-leaf Coneflower, Purple Coneflower

Plant family:
Asteraceae

1 Floom Magazine Herbal Help Echinacea Diagram 1

Parts used: 
Aerial parts

Active constituents: 
Caffeic acid, flavonoids, essential oils, alkylamides, polysaccharides, and polyacetylenes. 

Qualities: 
Mild aromatic, sweet, slightly bitter. 

Actions: 
Immune stimulating (increases white blood cell activity), anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, sialogogue (stimulates salivary glands), vulnerary (wound healing).

Indications: 
Typically for bites, stings, and wounds. Internally for bacterial, viral, fungal and protozoan infections. Colds and flus, respiratory and urinary tract infections. 

Combinations: 
As a tincture with other herbal extracts for infections; Thymus vulgaris, Hydrastis canadensis, Phytolacca, Baptisia tinctoria, Andrographis paniculata. 

As a cream or ointment for wounds with Calendula officinalis, Manuka honey, propolis, Hydrastis canadensis. 

Cautions and Contraindications: 
Allergies or sensitivities to other plants in the Asteraceae family. Use with caution in immunosuppressive therapy (eg: corticosteroids, methotrexate). There have been no safety studies done on women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

*A tingling of the oral cavity after ingesting echinacea is normal, and a sign of a quality herbal extract. 

Preparation:
A herbal extract can be used topically in an ointment and placed on affected area twice daily. It can also be ingested, 3ml, three times daily. 

This is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, or treatment. Please seek your healthcare professional if you have any questions or queries regarding a medical condition.


Kimberly Kushner BHSc (Nutritional Medicine), BHSc (Naturopathy) is a clinical nutritionist and naturopath who aims to provide you with the finest holistic health care. Her approach in assisting you to optimal health is practical, compassionate, empathic, and scientific. Kimberly treats acute and chronic health conditions and her main areas of expertise include, but are not limited to: reproductive health (women’s and men’s), digestive complaints, food allergies, healthy weight management, detoxification, and more.

www.kimberlykushner.com 

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Photo Credit

Flickr: John Lodder

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