The Benefits of Echinacea

Today I wanted to share with you some of the benefits of taking Echinacea. IMG_20140222_163923_844 It is sold over the counter, so no prescription is needed.  Echinacea is available as teas, liquid extracts, a dried herb and as capsules or tablets.  Information for the blog today has been provided by medicalnewstoday.com and 3fatchicks.com.

For those of you who don’t know, Echinacea comes from one or more of three types of Coneflowers; Echinacea angustifolia, commonly called the Narrow Leaf Coneflower, Echinacea pallida, commonly called the Pale Purple Coneflower and Echinacea purpurea, commonly called the Eastern purple Coneflower.

Echinacea is a perennial plant meaning it reoccurs every year.  It is approximately one to two feet tall when mature. It is slightly spiky and has large purple to pink flowers, depending on the species. The center of the flower has a seed head (cone), which is also spiky and dark brown to red in color.

So the question is; Does Echinacea have any effect on catching colds or reducing symptoms of a cold?  Studies have produced conflicting results, but I myself know that taking Echinacea works for me.  “Knock on wood,” I haven’t been sick with a cold in I can’t remember when.  I believe this is due in part from taking Echinacea, which is said to help boost immune health.

One study included scientists from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy who reviewed over a dozen studies on the effects of Echinacea on people’s risk of catching a cold.  They concluded that Echinacea can reduce a person’s chances of catching a cold by approximately 58 percent.  They also found that the popular herbal remedy reduces the length of time a cold lasts by 1.4 days. They published their findings in The Lancet Infections Diseases (July 2007 edition).

Another study from the Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health reported in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine (December 2010 issue) that Echinacea has no significant impact on the common cold and only reduces the duration of symptoms by half a day at the most.

I myself believe the first study is true for me.  Echinacea works for me, but as most people know, what works for some people doesn’t work for others.

IMG_20130615_130128_101

Echinacea is flower form, taken last summer in my parent’s yard.

Below are some of the benefits, I found online, for taking or using Echinacea.  Thanks to 3fatchicks.com for the following information.  It is much appreciated.

1.  Echinacea strengthens your immune system by stimulating the production of T-cells. It also increases the ability of your white cells to fend off pathogenic invaders.  A compound known as echinacein, found in echinacea, helps keep germs from penetrating healthy cells, so that viruses and bacteria don’t take hold in your body.

2.  Echinacea helps protect your healthy cells from invasion by bacteria and viruses, even if you apply the herb topically.  This means you can use it to keep cuts and scratches from getting infected.  Not only will it keep the wound from getting infected, but it will speed the healing process.

3.  Some illnesses in which echinacea supplements may be particularly effective include:  Urinary tract infection, sore throat pain, enlarged lymph glands, upper respiratory infection, enlarged prostate, vaginal yeast infections, bronchitis, hay fever, sinusitis, ear infections, gingivitis and canker sores.

4.  Topically applied, echinacea can help speed wound healing, so it’s often used for the treatment of slow-healing wounds.  It also helps to relieve the pain of the wound and can protect slow-healing wounds from infection.  Echinacea is also frequently used as a hemorrhoid remedy, and is often added to over-the-counter hemorrhoid medications.

I encourage you to give Echinacea a try since we still have a few more weeks of winter left, which means the cold and flu season isn’t over yet.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s