Thursday, January 28, 2010

Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflower

Of all the herbs and wildflowers used for medicial purposes, Echinacea purpurea is, in my humble opinion,  the most effective modern day natural remedy on the market.  I seldom succumb to colds and flus.  I am convinced that drinking Echinacea Tea has come to my rescue each and every time.

Like so many wildflowers, Echinacea was used in traditional Native American medicine to treat an assortment of problems -  toothaches, sore throats, tonsillitis, coughs, and blood and lymphatic system ailments.

Many studies have been conducted over the years, and, like everything else, depending on the source, many different opinions have been published.  But hundreds of these studies have shown that using echinacea at the first sign of coming down with a cold is very effective. 

It works for me!  I went to bed Tuesday night and felt that itchy, scratchy feeling in the back of my throat and ears.  I helped myself to a cup of echinacea tea in the morning and again during the evening hours on Wednesday when it became obvious that a cold was definitely in the making.  When I went to bed last night, I thought, "darn, I didn't catch it!  I'm doomed."  But I woke this morning cold free.  I'll follow up with a couple more cups of tea today to be absolutely sure.

Echinacea works by stimulating the development of white blood cells.  These, in turn, consume the invading organisms that infect the body, causing cold and flu symtoms to take hold.

In order to be most effective, Echinacea should be taken as a tea or in tablet form as soon as you first experience cold or flu symptoms.  When you first feel that scratchy throat or start sneezing, the experts advise that you begin taking Echinacea every few hours to nip any infection in the bud.

And if you are unable to catch your cold at the onset, Echinacea will still work to keep colds and flus from getting worse.

"Echinacea contains a substance that works with the body's immune system by binding to cells to prevent bacteria and viruses from getting into those cells. In this way, it fights the spread of any pathogens that try to invade the body."

Ordinarily, I'm not a tea drinker.  But most brands of Echinacea Tea are supplemented with lemongrass and/or spearmint to make drinking the tea a pleasant experience.  Adding a little honey is also tasty, as well as more soothing for a scratchy or sore throat.  Some preparations combine Echinacea with other immune system boosters or with vitamin C.  There are many varieties on the market and I urge you to have some on hand for the next time you feel a cold coming on. Unless you have an allergy to the Purple Coneflower itself, it's safe to at least give it a try! Some articles suggest that if you have severe allergies to ragweed,  chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies.  Click HERE for more information.

It is also interesting to note that studies have also shown that echinacea stimulates interferon, a vital part of the immune system known to be one of the front-line components in fighting the development of cancer cells.

I'm all for staying healthy.


Carrie P. said...

I agree! I have some coneflowers in my garden. I really like their shape.

Stephanie said...

Insurance companies need to pay for homeopathic treatments and accupuncture. They were around LONG before traditional medical practices. Our yard is filled with coneflowers. I've never tried it as tea.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Karen: What a neat thing to share, I enjoy the look of this Summer flower.

Stine in Ontario said...

Echinacea, one of my favourite perennials! They are easy to grow and have such a long bloom period!