Echinacea is also known as Echinacea augustifolia / Echinacea Purpurea (Scientific Binomial Name), Toothache Plant / Para cress / Purple Coneflowers / Kansas niggerhead / Black Sampson Root (Common English), (Ayurvedic), (Unani), Akarkar / Pipulka (Hindi / Urdu), (Tamil), Pipulka / Akarkara (Marathi), (Sanskrit), (Bengali), (Telugu), Hemmugalu (Kannada), (Malayalam). Echinacea is native to North America and were traditionally used by the Indian tribes for a variety of ailments, including mouth sores, colds and snakebites. Traditional uses of the herb include – respiratory infections, colds and flu, bronchitis, strep throat, toothache, urinary tract infections, herpes sores and gonorrhoea, skin disorders, staph infections, cold sores, ulcers, wounds, burns, insect bites, eczema, allergies and rheumatoid arthritis.

Echinacea to Boost Immune System

Echinacea is one of the best-studied herbs in herbal medicine today. Medical doctors have praised the tremendous power which echinacea seems to exert upon the entire immune system. This herb increases the production of white killer cells in the body to help eliminate infectious diseases of all kinds. It increases antibody responses to elevated interferon levels for fighting viruses to stimulation of white blood cells to work harder to fight infection. Various diseases from tuberculosis and tonsillitis to spinal meningitis and syphilis, can be successfully treated with this remarkable herb. German scientists demonstrated that, Echinacea has ability to reduce malignant tumors. This herb contains powerful little proteins that throw up an incredibly strong wall of resistance to super infections like the AIDS virus. It is also an excellent herb for the lymphatics. The herb works effectively for burns, herpes, infections.

Colds and Respiratory Tract Infections Benefits

Echinacea works by increasing macrophage T-cell activity, thereby increasing the body’s first line of defense against colds, flus, and many other illnesses. Take echinacea in frequent small doses in tea or tincture form to boost immunity at the first sign of a cold or flu. Make your own echinacea tincture before the cold season starts. To ward off a cold, take 1/2 teaspoon of the tincture every half hour at the first sign of symptoms. If you already have a cold, take 1 teaspoon of the tincture every 2 hours. A standardized Echinacea extract (Echinaforce) was found to have dual action against several important respiratory bacteria, a killing effect and an anti-inflammatory effect. Mix with water, for gargle use.

How to Make Echinacea Tincture?

To make tincture, cut the fresh herb finely. Pour the solvent over the herbs to cover completely. Choose your convinient solvent, choices are – diluted vegetable glycerin, vinegar, vodka, gin, or brandy. Add an additional 2 to 3 inches of liquid and tight close the jar. Set the jar in a warm place and let the herbs and liquid soak for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the herbs with cheesecloth or muslin. Reserve the liquid, which is now a potent tincture, and compost the herbs. To make a refreshing and healing herbal mouthwash, prepare echinacea root as a tincture. Combine 4 ounces of the tincture with 3 ounces of water and a couple of drops of essential oil of peppermint or spearmint. Mix well. To use: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of the tincture to half a glass of warm water. Swirl it around in your mouth several times and spit it out. Repeat as needed. To make echinacea tea steep 1 to 2 teaspoons echinacea leaf/flower in 1 cup boiling water, or boil 1 teaspoon of root in 1 to 2 cups water for 10 minutes.

Health Side Effects

Anyone with an autoimmune condition must exercise caution in taking an immune boosting herb like echinacea. There are 2 common varieties of Echinacea most commonly used medicinal species – Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia. Organically cultivated Echinacea is good for use where as wild version is now considered an at-risk herb. Avoid using wild harvested echinacea. Echinacea may inhibit certain liver enzymes, theoretically increasing blood levels of medications such as itraconazole (for fungal infections), lovastatin (for lowering cholesterol), and fexofenadine (for allergies). Therefore, it is important to be careful when taking echinacea with these and other medications, including birth control pills.

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