10 Impressive Echinacea Benefits to Support Your Health

10 Impressive Echinacea Benefits to Support Your Health | Echinacea-flowers | Natural Medicine Sleuth Journal Special Interests

Echinacea is a powerful and beneficial herb used by people around the world to maintain good health. Every part of the plant, from the roots to the flower petals, is bursting with vital nutrients. With a reputation as a natural cold remedy, many people enjoy echinacea in one form or another, whether as a tea, a supplement, or even the raw plant. Here, we’ll look at ten impressive ways echinacea can support your health.

What Is Echinacea?

A flowering plant native to North America, echinacea has dotted the American landscape in one form or another for hundreds of years. Initially prized by the Native American Sioux Indians as a remedy for snakebites, colic, and infections, it went on to become a wellness staple until the advent of antibiotics. Today, echinacea remains one of America’s most beloved and widely used herbs. Natural cold remedies, cough drops, and organic supplements all cite echinacea as a key ingredient.[1]

Like other herbs, the health benefits of echinacea are owed to its diverse makeup of nutrients, which includes polysaccharides, alkylamides, flavonoids, polyphenols, vitamin C, selenium, and zinc.[2]

10 Health Benefits of Echinacea

Americans spend millions of dollars on echinacea supplements every year to support their health. With a long history of therapeutic use, there is a treasure trove of research to support its popularity.

1. Boosts the Immune System

Echinacea can have a powerful impact on the immune system; over 14 clinical trials have confirmed its ability to encourage good health all year long.[3, 4] Other studies show echinacea to be among the most effective supplements for seasonal wellness.[5]

2. Reduces Redness and Swelling

Systemic swelling, redness, and discomfort in the body can have multiple sources, including an unhealthy diet or strenuous exercise.[6] Consuming echinacea or applying skin care products that contain echinacea essential oil can help reduce and alleviate tissue irritation.[7, 8]

3. Promotes the Health of Cells

Consuming echinacea promotes the health of protective cells in your body. Many of the compounds in echinacea support immune cells and encourage healthy cell growth.[9, 10]

4. Facilitates Oxygen Transport

Echinacea may improve oxygen levels in the blood. Echinacea increases erythropoietin production in the bone marrow, this, in turn, promotes red blood cell production and increases the capacity of the blood to transport oxygen.[11]

5. Supports Oral Health

Echinacea has been evaluated in combination with other herbs like sage and lavender and found to reduce bad breath. It’s believed this effect is partly due to echinacea’s ability to neutralized the harmful organisms that cause bad breath.[12]

6. Alleviates Physical Discomfort

Native Americans used echinacea to reduce aches and pains. Today, research has shown its potential for promoting comfort following surgery.[13]

7. Encourages Normal Skin Health

Echinacea supports a normal complexion by helping to discourage blemishes and irritation.[14] Other studies found that it helps hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.[15]

8. Promotes Upper Respiratory Health

Echinacea is among the best herbs for supporting upper respiratory health, even in children.[16] One double-blind placebo-controlled study found that air travel passengers who took echinacea tablets before and during a flight experienced fewer respiratory issues.[17]

9. Provides Antioxidants

Echinacea is a source of antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids, selenium, and zinc. One study found that a particular echinacea tincture had more antioxidant activity than Gingko biloba.[18]

10. Supports Normal Aging

Although human research is necessary for confirmation, the results of animal studies suggest that echinacea could offer anti-aging potential. In one study, supplemental echinacea was attributed to helping extend the lifespan of aging mice.[19]

Using Echinacea

Echinacea supplements are available in many forms. If you have access to the plant itself, you can make a pure, organic tea which doubles as an incredible home remedy for the flu.

Echinacea Tea

Below is an easy recipe for echinacea tea. Make sure only to use organic or wildcrafted echinacea that’s free of pesticides. For flavor, you can add natural sweeteners like honey, but I prefer it plain.

  1. Heat 8-16 ounces of distilled or filtered water over medium to high heat.
  2. Add a mixture of flowers, roots, and leaves.
  3. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Strain and enjoy hot or cold!

Side Effects and Precautions

Echinacea is generally considered safe, however, people who are sensitive to pollen should exercise caution. Echinacea comes from the same family of plants as daisies, marigolds, and ragweed. Some common side effects include dizziness, dry mouth, and mild nausea. While it is a favorite herb taken by many women, more research is needed to determine its safety for expectant or breastfeeding mothers. Before you try echinacea yourself, consult with your trusted health care provider.[20]

Echinacea and Your Health

Have you tried echinacea? What was your experience? Leave a comment below and share your insight with us.

 

 

References (20)
  1. Braun, Lesley, and Marc Cohen. “Herbs and natural supplements: an evidence-based guide.” Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2015. Print.
  2. Miller, Sandra C. “Echinacea: A Miracle Herb against Aging and Cancer? Evidence In Vivo in Mice.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2.3 (2005): 309–314.
  3. Ross SM. “Echinacea purpurea: A Proprietary Extract of Echinacea purpurea Is Shown to be Safe and Effective in the Prevention of the Common Cold.” Holist Nurs Pract. (2016): :54-57.
  4. UConn News. “Echinacea Could Cut Chances of Catching Common Cold By More Than Half.” June 26, 2007.
  5. Rauš K, Pleschka S, Klein P, Schoop R, Fisher P. “Effect of an Echinacea-Based Hot Drink Versus Oseltamivir in Influenza Treatment: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Double-Dummy, Multicenter, Noninferiority Clinical Trial.” Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. (2015): 66-72.
  6. Zhang, Jun-Ming, and Jianxiong An. “Cytokines, Inflammation and Pain.” International anesthesiology clinics 45.2 (2007): 27–37.
  7. Sharma M, Schoop R, Hudson JB. “Echinacea as an antiinflammatory agent: the influence of physiologically relevant parameters.” Phytother Res. (2009): 863-867.
  8. Yu D, Yuan Y, Jiang L, et al. “Anti-inflammatory effects of essential oil in Echinacea purpurea.” L. Pak J Pharm Sci. (2013): 403-408.
  9. Li Y, Wang Y, Wu Y, et al. “Echinacea pupurea extracts promote murine dendritic cell maturation by activation of JNK, p38 MAPK and NF-κB pathways.” Dev Comp Immunol. (2017): 21-26.
  10. Zhai, Zili et al. “Echinacea Increases Arginase Activity and Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties in RAW 264.7 Macrophage Cells Indicative of Alternative Macrophage Activation.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 122.1 (2009): 76–85.
  11. Whitehead, Malcolm T. “The Use of Echinacea to Improve Oxygen Transport Capacity.” Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy 01.02 (2011).
  12. Sterer N, Nuas S, Mizrahi B, et al. “Oral malodor reduction by a palatal mucoadhesive tablet containing herbal formulation.” J Dent. (2008): 535-539.
  13. Rondanelli M, Riva A, Morazzoni P, et al. “The effect and safety of highly standardized Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) extract supplementation on inflammation and chronic pain in NSAIDs poor responders. A pilot study in subjects with knee arthrosis.” Nat Prod Res. (2017):1309-1313.
  14. Sharma M, Schoop R, Suter A, Hudson JB. “The potential use of Echinacea in acne: control of Propionibacterium acnes growth and inflammation.” Phytother Res. (2011): 517-521.
  15. Yotsawimonwat S, Rattanadechsakul J, Rattanadechsakul P, Okonogi S. “Skin improvement and stability of Echinacea purpurea dermatological formulations.” Int J Cosmet Sci. (2010): 340-346.
  16. Weber W, Taylor JA, Stoep AV, Weiss NS, Standish LJ, Calabrese C. “Echinacea purpurea for prevention of upper respiratory tract infections in children.” J Altern Complement Med. (2005):1021-1026.
  17. Tiralongo E, Lea RA, Wee SS, Hanna MM, Griffiths LR. “Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of echinacea supplementation in air travelers.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. (2012).
  18. Masteikova R, Muselik J, Bernatoniene J, Bernatoniene R. “Antioxidative activity of Ginkgo, Echinacea, and Ginseng tinctures.” Medicina (Kaunas). (2007): 306-309.
  19. Miller, Sandra C. “Echinacea: A Miracle Herb against Aging and Cancer? Evidence In Vivo in Mice.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2.3 (2005): 309–314.
  20. Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, Echinacea purpurea).” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.

 

 

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About The Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

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