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Echinacea quick review
Botanical description: a genus of native North American plants, commonly known as the purple coneflower. A perennial, growing up to twenty inches in height.
Active constituents:alkylamides, caffeic acid derivatives, polysaccharides, volatile oil, glycoside, polysaccharides, polyacetylenes, isobutylalkamines, echinaceine, phenolics, inulin, betain, resins, flavonoids, glycoproteins, sesquiterpene esters, phytosterols, carbohydrates and vitamin C.
Health benefits : used primarily to reduce the symptoms and duration of the common cold and flu, stimulates the immune system which results in an increased ability to resist infections.
Dosage: 250-500mg per day of a concentrated extract (5-6:1) is a typical dosage recommendation. For general immune system stimulation, the daily dosage of echinacea purpurea leaf is 1 to 2 grams dried root or 2 to 3 mL of standardized tincture extract.

Side effects : should not be used in progressive systemic and auto-immune disorders such as tuberculosis, leicosis, connective tissue disorders, collagenosis and related diseases.
 
Echinacea/Goldenseal by Vitabase
Echinacea has demonstrated great benefit in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. Goldenseal is often combined with Echinacea to help shorten the duration of colds and flu. Vitabase's full spectrum Echinacea Purpurea Extract is produced by a European phyto-pharmaceutical company under strict European quality control standards without the use of harsh chemicals. The Goldenseal Root is ecologically farm grown without the use of harmful chemicals. The root is not harvested from the wild and therefore, the endangered wild population of goldenseal is not adversely impacted. Click here for more information.
 

Echinacea


Echinacea is the name of a genus of native North American plants, commonly known as the purple coneflower. There are nine species of this herb, but just three (Echinacea angustifolia, E. palli da, and E. purpurea) are used medicinally. Echinacea is a perennial, growing up to twenty inches in height, producing large, beautiful, daisylike purple flowers and leaves covered in coarse hair. The flowers produced by the plant are purple in colour and seated at the base of a high cone. The flowering head is orange and cone-shaped, bearing purple, rose, or white petals from June to September. Echinacea leaves are pale to dark green, coarse and pointy. The dark green leaves are opposite, entire, lanceolate, toothed, and hairy with three prominent veins. The tapering root is greyish-brown flecked with white. Echinacea is a popular herb used primarily to reduce the symptoms and duration of colds and flu-like illnesses. It is believed to work through short-term stimulation of the immune system. Echinacea is also known as the American cone flower, black Susan, black Sampson, comb flower, hedgehog, Indian head, Kansas snakeroot, narrow-leaved purple coneflower, scurvy root, and snakeroot.
 

Active constituents and clinical pharmacology of echinacea


Echinacea contains a variety of chemical compounds which have significant pharmacological functions. Echinacea contains
alkylamides, caffeic acid derivatives, polysaccharides, volatile oil (including humulene and caryophylene), glycoside (echinacoside), polyacetylenes, isobutylalkamines, echinaceine, phenolics, inulin, betain, resins, flavonoids, glycoproteins, sesquiterpene esters (echinadiole, epoxy -echinadiole, echinax-anthole, and dihydor-xynardole), phytosterols, carbohydrates and vitamin C. Caffeic acid derivatives (e.g. echinacoside, cichoric and chlorogenic acids and cynarin) may play roles in stimulating phagocytosis. Inulin and other high molecular weight polysaccharides such as heteroxylan, arabinogalactan, and fucogalactoxyloglucans stimulate macrophages and they possess anti-inflammatory activity. Echinacein and several isobutylamides are responsible for the local anesthetic effect and some of the anti-inflammatory activity of echinacea. Inulin is responsible for activating pathways in the body, which help neutralize viruses and bacteria, and boost the migration of white blood cells to infection sites. The rich content of polysaccharides and phytosterols in echinacea are what make it a strong immune system stimulant. The polysaccharides act as immune stimulants by increasing the levels of white blood cells. They also inhibit the breakdown of cell walls, so that pathogens cannot easily invade cell tissues. The sesquiterpene esters also have immunostimulatory effects. The caffeic acid derivative echinacoside does have mild antibiotic properties. Echinacea also has cortisone-like actions which can help promote the healing of wounds and helps to control the inflammatory reactions of allergies.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of echinacea


Echinacea is a popular herb used primarily to reduce the symptoms and duration of the common cold and flu and to alleviate the symptoms associated with them, such as sore throat (pharyngitis), cough, and fever. Treatment of upper respiratory infections
including colds, influenza, tonsillitis, otitis media, sore throat, and whooping cough accounts for the most widespread use of echinacea today. As an immune-booster, echinacea can be particularly helpful for fighting these recurrent infections. Echinacea stimulates the immune system which results in an increased ability to resist infections. Echinacea has potent immune system actions and impacts the thymus gland, the activation of T cells, and the promotion of interferon production and secretion. The herb's immune-boosting properties make it particularly helpful for fighting chronic upper respiratory infections.

Echinacea is also used topically in the treatment of wounds and burns. Echinacea is vulnerary, promoting wound healing through the action of a chemical substance in the root known as caffeic acid glycoside. As a natural antibiotic and infection fighter, echinacea promotes the healing of all kinds of skin irritations, including burns, cuts and scrapes, boils, abscesses, canker sores, and eczema, and herpes infections. Echinacea is considered one of the best blood purifiers found in nature. It also improve slymphatic filtration and drainage and assists in clearing the blood from damaging toxins. A tincture, or a strong decoction of echinacea serves as an effective mouthwash for the treatment of pyorrhea and gingivitis.

 

Dosage and administration of echinacea


Recommended dosages of echinacea differ widely depending on the product. Echinacea is available in extracts, tinctures, tablets, and capsules. Echinacea is also available in combination with other immune-boosting herbs, vitamins, and minerals. Ointments and salves containing root or leaf extracts are also available for topical application in the treatment of wounds and skin diseases. Approximately 250-500mg per day of a concentrated extract (5-6:1) is a typical dosage recommendation. The usual daily dosage of echinacea purpurea leaf is 1 to 2 grams dried root or 2 to 3 mL of standardized tincture extract, for general immune system stimulation, during colds, flu, upper respiratory tract infections, or bladder infections.
 

Side effects, precautions, interactions


There are no known side effects from internal or external use of echinacea. Allergies may occur in patients allergic to plants belonging to the daisy family. Echinacea should not be used in progressive systemic and auto-immune disorders such as tuberculosis, leicosis, connective tissue disorders, collagenosis and related diseases. It should not be used with other known hepatotoxic drugs such as anabolic steroids, amiodarone, methotrexate or ketoconazole.