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Benefits of Echinacea
Discover the many benefits of Echinacea which is also known by the name ‘American Coneflower’ is a very popular herb that is mostly taken to combat colds and flu. It is a member of the Asteraceae family, which is native to North America.
The wonder herb that was once famous for treating cold alone is quickly becoming popular for other medical uses.It is crucial to note that there is a difference between the plant’s root chemical composition and that found in its upper part hence the chemicals found in the roots are relatively different from those in the flowers and leaves.
The common chemical components found in the Echinacea herb are flavonoids, essential oils, polysaccharides, vitamin C and inulin. Most of the herb’s constituents are in fact very powerful and do provide a very significant medical value. Although the herbal remedy had been used by people in the U.S and Europe, its popularity sky-rocketed thanks to the successful research carried out in Germany during the 1920’s. Echinacea is readily available as a dried herb, in teas and liquid extracts and as tablets or capsules over the counter at health shops, pharmacies, and supermarkets.
Echinacea: Health Benefits, Uses
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There are basically 3 major Echinacea species that are used as herbal remedies and they include Echinacea pallida, Echinacea Angustifolia, and Echinacea purpurea. Below you will find the medical benefits of the Echinacea herb and discover just how does echinacea work. We hope that this will aid in answering all your question on Echinacea herb.
The Echinacea herb is an effective remedy that can be used to fight various major and minor infections. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), taking the herbal remedy while applying other recommended medical creams that are often used in treating recurring vaginal infections1 can reduce the stubborn medical condition by up to 16% as compared to when one takes medication alone. Other medical conditions that the herbal medication is also known to effectively help with include syphilis, genital herpes, bloodstream infections, malaria, gum disease, urinary tract infections, and typhoid and vaginal yeast infections.
Fascinating research findings on the benefits of Echinacea in fighting cancer, particularly brain cancer have been published in the National Institute of Health. The findings reveal the medicinal properties of the phytochemicals found in Echinacea as well as indicating that the agents and phytochemicals that are only found in the herb can be very valuable in combating a variety of tumors. This has resulted in Echinacea being recommended as a viable natural cancer treatment in place of or alongside the conventional therapy being used.
Echinacea’s history as a medicinal herb is said to have begun when the Great Plains Indians started using Echinacea purpurea as painkillers. Modern scientific findings2 have also indicated that the herbal remedy is effective for various types of pains including snake bites, pains associated with measles, stomach ache, sore throat, headache, bowel pains, gonorrhea associated pains, and tonsillitis. The effective ways that Echinacea can be used to alleviate pain are through consuming the herbal infusion as tea or using the herb in its paste form and rubbing it on the affected area directly.
Boosting the immune system
A publication that was carried in the popular journal “Lancet Infectious Disease3 ” to highlight the critical research that was carried out by the University of Connecticut revealed that the herbal remedy can significantly reduce the average duration of the common cold while also reducing the chances of catching the cold by up to around 60%. Hindawi which is another popular medical journal also managed to publish the unique findings that Echinacea has unique properties that can prevent viral colds. Echinacea helps in boosting the immune system by helping the body to offer real-time protection against invading bodies such as bacteria and viruses.
Inflammation which is always at the root of most common diseases is arguably the leading killer worldwide. The condition is often contributed to by various factors, including poor sleeping habits, the presence of toxins in food and heightened stress levels. However, regular consumption of the Echinacea herb has been found to effectively alleviate and reverse various types of the medical condition as proven by scientists from the “University of British Columbia.” The National Institute of Health boosts the herbal remedy’s credibility further by reporting that it is very effective in helping with eye inflammation4 and uveitis. Individuals struggling with chronic inflammatory ailments like rheumatoid arthritis are advised to consume the herbal infusion regularly.
Improving skin problems
There are various skin benefits associated with the use of Echinacea. For instance, professor Armando Gonzales Stuart in his scholarly paper dealing with herbal safety manages to describe how the herb was widely used by native American tribes in treating eczema, arthropod bites, psoriasis, inflammatory skin conditions, skin infections, snake bites, wound healing, and stings. Echinacea can also be used on fresh open wounds without causing any form of skin irritation while effectively killing those bacteria that try to multiply in one’s body. The herbal remedy when spread on the skin, helps in significantly speeding up the healing process.
Echinacea when consumed, offers healing properties to the entire gastrointestinal tract and stomach. The ‘Medical Herbalism’ suggests that the wonder herb can be effectively used as a mild laxative providing natural constipation relief and a calming effect to users. Drinking Echinacea herbal tea can be highly effective when treating stomach conditions. However, users are advised against overusing the herb as it may lead to serious consequences. When taken in moderation the herbal remedy can work wonders for all.
Relieving upper respiratory issues
The Echinacea herb’s anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties make it ideal for use in relieving upper respiratory issues like all manner of flu’s, acute sinusitis, croup, common cold, inflammation, diphtheria, whooping-cough, tuberculosis, and strep throat. Supplements are however the best choice for more severe issues as Echinacea tea may not be concentrated enough.
Improving mental health
The Echinacea herb particularly Echinacea Angustifolia can effectively help with all the mental ailments related to ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and ADD (Attention deficit disorder). The herbal remedy is also considered to be a natural remedy for ADHD. Emotional disturbances, particularly depression, anxiety and social phobias are often experienced by both children and adults suffering from ADHD/ADD. Users are required to take the prescribed dosage as any overdose can result in the cancellation of the Echinacea benefits.
Echinacea side effects
High doses of Echinacea are known to sometimes cause dizziness and nausea especially in individuals with allergies. Echinacea when injected can also result in severe reactions, including dizziness, diarrhea, headache, fever, dry mouth, joint muscle aches, nausea, insomnia, stomach pains, tongue numbness, vomiting, sore throat and disorientation. The Mayo clinic insists that the herbal remedy can be used by breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women.
The health benefits provided above clearly explain how Echinacea works with the main reason being the activation of important chemicals in the body that are responsible for fighting diseases and infections while offering maximum real-time protection to users. Try Echinacea today to get a chance to experience its medical wonders!
- https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/981.html ↩
- https://vsearch.nlm.nih.gov/vivisimo/cgi-bin/query-meta?v%3Aproject=medlineplus&v%3Asources=medlineplus-bundle&query=Echinacea+herb+ ↩
- http://thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(07)70160-3/abstract ↩
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18285309 ↩