Echinacea is almost synonymous with the common cold. It is a powerful, world-renowned, immune-boosting herb that benefits bodily health unlike most plants in existence. The Native Americans used it for centuries to remedy various illnesses, and now it is regularly prescribed to treat pain, reduce inflammation, get rid of migraines, and remedy the common cold or flu. Now you see why everyone loves it so much!
What Is Echinacea?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there are nine known species of Echinacea, all of which are native to North America. Of these nine species, only three are used in herbal supplements: Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea. Extracts, teas, capsules, tablets, and tinctures are created from the roots and aboveground parts of the plant. In fact, medical experts held Echinacea in high regard before the introduction of antibiotics in 1950. Antibiotics became all the rage and medicine shifted away from herbal remedies. People did not forget about Echinacea, though, and these health benefits prove that.
Health Benefits Of Echinacea
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to defend itself from foreign invaders, but inflammation can last longer than necessary. If there is chronic inflammation in the body, the risk of developing chronic diseases increases. Several studies have identified the anti-inflammatory properties of Echinacea. One 30-day study found that adults, who had osteoarthritis, experienced reduced inflammation, pain, and swelling after taking daily Echinacea supplements. Additionally, the same adults did not respond positively to non-steroidal inflammatory drugs.
A meta-analysis published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal evaluated Echinacea from 14 studies. The results were that Echinacea reduces the risk of catching a common cold by 58%, and that it reduces the duration of the common cold by about one and a half days. Other studies found that the dosage of Echinacea can influence the immune system. Ten milligrams of Echinacea per one kilogram of body weight, taken over a 10-day period, helps to boost immunity.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues in the United States, affecting about one in every five American adults. Within recent years, people have started to use Echinacea for anxiety relief. Research has discovered that Echinacea contains alkamides, rosmarinic acid, and caffeic acid, all of which help reduce anxious feelings. Initial research is promising, but more research is needed to confirm the positive effects of Echinacea on anxiety.
Did you know that Echinacea is currently used as an alternative cancer treatment? The recommendation is to take it alongside, or in place of, conventional therapy. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) published a study that examined the effects of Echinacea on brain cancer. The results indicated that Echinacea’s phytochemicals might be valuable in the quest to combat tumors. This research has sparked more interest in the power of phytochemicals from other plants and herbs.
As you’ve gathered by now, Echinacea is a very powerful herb. Several studies found that it is beneficial for a variety of infections, especially infections that relate to skin issues. Groups of women found that Echinacea was 16% more effective at fighting recurring vaginal infections than taking medicine. Echinacea may also help remedy malaria, syphilis, gum disease, bloodstream infections, and vaginal yeast infections.