Echinacea purpurea is a perennial herbaceous plant of the Asteraceae family, 80-120 cm high. Native to the eastern United States. It is a tall and amazingly beautiful plant. Inflorescences are large, purple-violet anthodiums. Depending on the climate, it begins to bloom in late May or early July. It is cultivated as an ornamental and medicinal plant.
Echinacea – Review and History
The Echinacea plant is a light demander, it is winter-hardy, prefers moist fertile soil. It doesn’t require special care. Its vitality is about the same as that of a chamomile. The plant blooms in the second year of its life. The duration of flowering is up to 75 days. Echinacea purpurea breeds well by seeds. It is grown through seedlings or by planting in the ground. Sowing is recommended in the spring with dry seeds, when the ground warms up to 10 degrees, to a depth of 2-3 cm by a wide-space sowing with row-spacing of 45 cm. Shoots appear 15-30 days after sowing. Fertilizing of the plants is done only in the second year during the regrowth phase in early spring.
After sowing and growing this plant, we get a medicine that will save us from many diseases and will improve our immunity. If you want to grow it for medicinal purposes, collect the herb in the second year of its life during the first half of its mass flowering – in July.
For crude drugs use grass, leaves, flowers, stems, rhizomes and roots. Grass is harvested during flowering, cutting off the flowering shoots 25-35 cm long, which are consumed fresh or dried in the shade. Exceptionally curative rhizomes and roots are dug in autumn (September-October), when the content of medicinal substances in them reaches the maximum level, then they are cleaned, washed from the ground, dry-cured and cut into pieces. Raw materials are dried at a temperature of 40-45 degrees or in well-ventilated rooms.
The beneficial properties of Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea purpurea: application, recommendations, beneficial properties… According to the latest scientific data, roots, seeds and flowers of the aboveground parts of the plant contain unique natural substances and components comprising an extremely harmonious combination and having a synergistic therapeutic effect.
Echinacea contains healing essential oils, polysaccharides, useful resins, organic acids, essential for the health, tannins, vitamins and unique natural antioxidants echinacin and echinolon. The rhizomes and roots have inulin, glucose, essential and fatty oils, phenol carboxylic acids, betaine, resin. The composition of medicinal vitally important vitamins and minerals, contained in Echinacea, is extremely rich – vitamins A, C, E, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and others.
Echinacea – Photo
This wonderful plant is extremely rich in nutrients, iron, necessary for the formation of red blood cells and improving blood composition, calcium, essential for strong bones and teeth, which is important for the elderly, selenium, giving the ability to resist any disease, as well as silicon, necessary for the formation of healthy tissues after surgery.
All these elements enhance immunity, improve metabolism, and have anti-allergic, anti-microbial, diuretic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. Roots and the whole plants are considered especially beneficial in the treatment of wounds, bites and burns.
The Echinacea plant came to us from North America. Indians successfully cured many diseases, which were considered incurable in the Old World, with this plant. They used Echinacea as a panacea against bites of all kinds of insects, for the treatment of snake bites. In some cases this plant is allergenic.
Using Echinacea for medicinal purposes
Currently Echinacea is one of the most popular medicinal plants in the world. The reason is its incredible healing power and the extraordinary range of its therapeutic applications. Its effect is similar to that of a ginseng, in some ways it even surpasses the latter. It is no exaggeration to say that the Echinacea herb quickly and effectively treats a huge number of diseases without side effects, addiction and reducing the effectiveness of making preparations from it.
In folk medicine Echinacea is used in the form of a water infusion, decoction, alcoholic tincture, ointment, cream, healing oils. To treat many diseases the shredded Echinacea segments are mixed with honey, a healing oil is prepared, tumors and inflammations are rubbed with the leaves, juice is used to treat ulcers, wounds, decoctions are prepared, and alcohol tinctures in the form of wet compresses are used for inflammations and wound healing. Medicinal salads, pomaces, extracts are made from the leaves.
In addition, a lot of herbal mixtures, which include Echinacea purpurea, are produced. They are brewed in a thermos like tea and used for obesity and alcoholism, bronchitis, dysbacteriosis, heart disease, arthritis, arthrosis, hair loss, for detoxification and cleansing the entire body.
Healing tea. To make it, take 3 fresh flowers or 2 teaspoons of a crushed root or leaves, brew with 0.5 liters of boiling water and infuse for 40 minutes. Drink 1 cup of this tea a day for prevention and rehabilitation, and 3 cups at the beginning of any disease to boost immunity and to recover faster.
This tea is considered to be a very effective natural cure, it slows the aging process, cleanses perfectly and rejuvenates the entire body. Drink the tea for colds, flu, boils, inflammations, ulcers, eczema; for a quick recovery after a long illness, surgery or a course of antibiotics. Take Echinacea for a month maximum, and then make a break for a month. Breaks allow the immune system to start working to its full capacity.
Decoction. It is advised to take Echinacea decoction to normalize pressure, improve appetite, for insomnia, colds and flu. Take 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried leaves, ground and brew them in a glass of water on a water bath, infuse and drink one-third of a tea cup three times a day before meals. It heals stomach ulcers, headaches and joint pain, swelling, it normalizes blood pressure, improves general well-being, normalizes sleep and enhances eyesight. It improves appetite and mood. It’s an indispensable tool for colds and flu.
Echinacea root decoction. Pour 300 milliliters of water over a tablespoon of chopped dried roots, boil on the water bath for half an hour, infuse until cool and drain. Drink 1-2 tablespoons before meals three to four times a day for chronic fatigue, acute infectious diseases, flu…
Echinacea with honey is effective for various diseases. Pulverize and mix the raw material with honey 1:3; take 1-2 tsp with tea 2-3 times per day. You can buy the ready preparation with honey at the pharmacy.
The Echinacea plant is widely used in cosmetics to treat skin problems. Wipe your face before bed with the fresh juice of the leaves and flowers in case of pigment spots, freckles, warts, acne, herpes, purulent formations, wrinkles.
Echinacea for the immune system
Echinacea is an almost indispensable and rather well-studied plant, as if specially created by nature to enhance immunity. For therapeutic use Echinacea should be collected during the growing season, dried in shade, crushed and drunk in the form of tea in the autumn, winter and early spring. And in the summer you can enjoy the green mass and flowers cooking delicious and medicinal salads. This will strengthen the immune system and protect you against colds.
Preparations based on Echinacea enhance immunity as follows: they actively clean the entire lymphatic system, blood, liver, kidneys, prevent their destruction and help restore healthy cells, fight against bacteria, viruses, fungi and germs, activate and mobilize body defenses to fight disease. At the same time it perfectly stimulates the growth of healthy cells, antibody production, it is an indispensable tool for mental and physical exhaustion, for the prevention and treatment of serious diseases against which any medications are powerless, for the treatment of respiratory and viral diseases, as well as for chronic diseases: hepatitis, rheumatism, arthritis, arthrosis, nephritis, cystitis, prostatitis, eczema, psoriasis, for burns, frostbites, not healing wounds, diabetes. Echinacea purpurea heals male and female infertility, obesity, reduces and eliminates cravings for alcohol and tobacco.
Echinacea: use for children
How to protect your child from infection, how to strengthen his already weakened immune system? That is the main issue of concern for today’s parents. Most often children are exposed to colds. According to most physicians, even children of an early age (from one year old) can be given Echinacea preparations. The best thing you can do for your child is to cook tea with this plant. You can buy ready mixtures, grass, dried flowers, leaves or roots of Echinacea in a drugstore and brew according to package directions. Just be sure to check their origin and authenticity.
It is better to have a thermos for brewing. Add 2 tbsp. of dried herb per one liter of water. Infuse it for half an hour, and then drink as regular tea. Just not after eating, but in between meals. You can add a few drops of lemon juice and one or two teaspoons of honey in the tea. To experience the effect, drink it 1.5 hours after or 1 hour before a meal. In this case Echinacea for children will be really effective.
The plant is produced in different forms, there are also special ones for children: in preparations, granules, in the dried form, as a tincture. But according to experts, preparations with Echinacea for children are very different from those remedies which are intended for adults. Do not offer the child an alcoholic tincture, if you took it for your own needs. If there is an allergic reaction, it is necessary to renounce the use of Echinacea.
Echinacea tincture with alcohol is only suitable for older children (from 12 years old), and that diluted in the ratio of 1:3 (one part of the tincture and three parts water). One should take it before meals, 3 times a day. A child can drink a few drops of a dilute tincture at a time. To enhance the well-being rather drink the tincture for 1-2 weeks. In order to aid in the treatment of certain diseases take it for 3-8 weeks (as the doctor says!). Side effects are minimal – only an allergic reaction and that is rare! The main thing is that you should abide by the dosage and not exceed the maximum duration of the course.
The alcohol tincture of Echinacea
The Echinacea tincture on alcohol is known to us better than its other products. It is always available over the counter, but you can prepare it yourself as well. A 10% alcohol tincture of the roots of perennial and all other plant segments is usually taken, it heals stomach ulcers very well, as well as dissolves and removes stones from kidneys.
It heals prostate adenoma, inflammations of the urogenital sphere, women’s inflammations, constipation, vascular spasm, gastritis, it normalizes and improves metabolic processes in the body. When you cough or have asthma, rub your back, especially under your shoulder blades, with an alcohol tincture for seven days in a row.
Experienced herbalists recommend adding finely chopped fresh or dried leaves of Echinacea purpurea to an alcohol or vodka 1:10 and infuse for 10 days. Take 25-30 drops of the tincture 3 times a day before meals.
Alcohol tincture of the Echinacea root. Pour 70% alcohol over shredded raw roots or flowers in the ratio of 1: 4, infuse for a month. Drink a teaspoon of it three times a day, use it externally for poultices in case of burns and wounds.
Echinacea root extract. Pour 95% alcohol over fresh chopped root to cover the root, leave for two weeks. Strain, squeeze out the residue. Drink 25-30 drops with water half an hour before eating 3 times a day in case of fatigue and flu as an immunostimulant. Keep refrigerated.
It is worth noting that until the age of 20 absolutely all medical tinctures, even of the most medicinal plants, are strictly prohibited.
Contraindications to the use of Echinacea
It is recommended to take Echinacea for a month, and then make a monthly break – then the immune defenses can work and strengthen themselves. When used in high doses, insomnia can begin, a person becomes excitable, there come nausea, vomiting, and the functioning of the intestines and kidneys is disrupted.
An allergy to the plant itself is a contraindication. It is recommended that pregnant and lactating women should avoid Echinacea containing products. Begin treating a child with Echinacea preparations only after consulting a pediatrician.