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Uses for Echinacea
Names: Purple Coneflower
Typical Places Found: Throughout North American prairies, plains, and open woodlands.
Part Used: The root
Anti-microbial, immunomodulator, anti-catarrhal, alterative
Echinacea is one of the primary remedies for helping the body rid itself of microbial infections. It is often effective against both bacterial and viral attacks, and may be used in conditions such as boils, septicemia and similar infections. In conjunction with other herbs it may be used for any infection anywhere in the body. For example in combination with Yarrow or Bearberry it will effectively stop cystitis. It is especially useful for infections of the upper respiratory tract such as laryngitis, tonsillitis and for catarrhal conditions of the nose and sinus.
In general it may be used widely and safely. There are many ailments that this fantastic herb can be used for such as:
- As a mouthwash for the treatment of pyorrhea and gingivitis
- An external lotion to help septic sores and cuts
It seems to prevent infection and repair tissue damaged by infection, partially through inhibiting the activity of the enzyme hyaluronidase. Echinacea inhibits the action of hyaluronidase by bonding with it in some way, resulting in a temporary increase in the integrity of the barrier. This all points to the conclusion that its actions relate to immune system functioning on some level, helping deal with infections and stimulating the immune response. It activates the macrophages that destroy both cancerous cells and pathogens, increases the level of phagocytosis by raising levels of white blood cells such as the neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, and B lymphocytes. It also has an effect on properidin levels, indication an activation of the complement system.
Preparations & Dosage: Decoction: put 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the root in one cup of water and bring it slowly to boil. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.
Tincture: Take 1-4 ml of the tincture three times a day. Echinacea is often, inappropriately, used as a daily immune support.