Echinacea is a herbaceous flowering plant which belongs to the daisy family.
There are a total of nine species and its flowers are commonly known as “purple coneflowers”.
Echinacea is mostly found in central and eastern North America, usually found in dry or moist prairies.
The name “echinacea” originates from the Greek word “echino” which means “hedgehog” due to its central disc which is spikey and has the appearance of a hedgehog.
Echinacea is known for its medicinal powers but is also cultivated for horticultural purposes as all the species are attractive to look at.
Echinacea was first used by the native Indians of North America as a cure for various types of ailments.
It was used to medicate colds, flu and other infections. It was also applied to the skin to treat cuts, insect bites and burns. Formulations from Echinacea were considered as all-purpose cures – from a common cold to cancer.
Today however, there is more awareness of the exact effectiveness of this flower.
It has been observed that echinacea does not actually cure diseases, but aids in the resisting and fighting of various diseases.
Echinacea helps in the treatment of respiratory conditions like sore throat and bronchitis.
It is also useful in providing relief for enlarged prostrate glands and urine infections.
If applied to the skin, it is effective in healing psoriasis, eczema, and persistent wounds. It is also believed to provide some protection against sunburn.
Almost everyone can benefit from taking echinacea; however, it is always advisable to consult a doctor before taking it, especially in the case of children.
If a person is feeling run down or suffering from common cold or flu-like symptoms, then taking this preparation is recommended.
There have been no significant side effects reported as a result of taking echinacea. However, there have been some claims that after taking it there were some allergic reactions, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, sore throat, stomach upset and numbness in the tongue.
There is no set standard for the amount of echinacea to be taken by a person. Since the quantity of the herb varies from brand to brand, it is recommended to take it according to the prescribed dosage given on the bottle. It is advisable to consult a doctor before taking this medication to ensure that there are no allergic reactions or adverse side effects.