Echinacea Purpurea is one of the most exciting therapeutic herbs available today, it is a unique herb related to the sunflower plant family. Echinacea has been widely used by Native Americans for hundreds of years as an antiseptic, an analgesic and for the treatment of snakebites.
Recently Echinacea has gained world-wide recognition as a natural alternative to antibiotics. There is a concern that antibiotics are failing because of over-use and the resultant increase of drug-resistant bacteria. Echinacea helps to increase immune function, reduce the effects of colds and flu’s, fight off viral, bacterial and fungal infections, purify the blood and flush waste from the lymphatic system.
There are more than 300 separate studies that have confirmed echinacea’s major physiological effects. Researchers have found that echinacea’s immune- stimulating properties are due to a rich host of polysaccharides and phytosterols unique to this plant which help to activate macrophages, key immune system elements that are directly involved in the destruction of bacteria, viruses, other infectious agents and cancer cells. Macrophages produce much of their lethal effect by generating free oxygen radicals as well as producing a key protein called interleukin-1.
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, septicaemia 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 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.