Echinacea should be of particular interest during the cold and flu season when you are exposed to these illnesses on a regular basis. When used correctly it is the closest thing to a cure for the common cold.
Echinacea stimulates the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection. Unlike antibiotics, which directly attack bacteria, echinacea makes our own immune cells more efficient at attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells, including cancer cells. It increases the number and activity of immune system cells including anti-tumor cells, promotes T-cell activation, stimulates new tissue growth for wound healing and reduces inflammation in arthritis and inflammatory skin conditions.
The most consistently proven effect of echinacea is in stimulating phagocytosis (the consumption of invading organisms by white blood cells and lymphocytes). Extracts of echinacea can increase phagocytosis by 20-40%.
Echinacea also stimulates the production of interferon as well as other important products of the immune system, including "Tumor Necrosis Factor", which is important to the body's response against cancer.
Echinacea also inhibits an enzyme (hyaluronidase) secreted by bacteria to help them gain access to healthy cells. Research in the early 1950's showed that echinacea could completely counteract the effect of this enzyme, helping to prevent infection when used to treat wounds.
Although echinacea is usually used internally for the treatment of viruses and bacteria, it is now being used more and more for the treatment of external wounds. It also kills yeast and slows or stops the growth of bacteria and helps to stimulate the growth of new tissue. It combats inflammation too, further supporting its use in the treatment of wounds.
Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida
Purple Coneflower, American Coneflower, Black Sampson, Comb Flower, Hedgehog, Indian Head, Rudbeckia, Sampson Head, Scurvy Root, Snakeroot
Antiseptic, Stimulates Immune System, mild anti-biotic, bacteriostatic, anti-viral, anti-fungal.
Improves immune system where patient suffers chronic tiredness and is susceptible to minor infections. Colds, coughs and flu and other upper respiratory conditions, enlarged lymph glands, sore throat, urinary tract infections. Boils, acne, duodenal ulcers, flu, herpes, candida and persistant infections. As a mouthwash for sore throats tonsilitis, mouth ulcers and gum infections. Externally: Wounds, skin regeneration and skin infections, psoriasis, eczema and inflammatory skin conditions.
Echinacea has no known toxicity and has an excellent safety record, being very well tolerated by most people. However, echinacea should not be used in progressive systemic and auto-immune disorders such as tuberculosis, leicosis, connective tissue disorders, collagenosis and related diseases such as lupus, according to the German Kommission E. Its use in AIDS or opportunistic infections in AIDS patients is controversial.