The preventative herb
Echinacea: "If you're not
interested in healing yourself with its roots, you can simply enjoy the beauty
of echinaceas in your yard or garden. They have a very slight fragrance and
propagate into beautiful, meadowlike beds if you let them. ..."
Echinacea is a "preventative" herb. Not used in any modern commercial drugs today but Echinacea is heralded by many herbalists as one of the very best blood purifiers and an effective antibiotic. Its contains a natural antibiotic that makes it an effective, broad-based infection fighter. It is considered an immune system stimulant which increases production of infection fighting T cells. It is believed to strengthen the body's tissues and protect from attacks of invasive germs.
There are nine species, but only three of them (E. angustifolia, E. pallida, E. purpurea) are used as botanical medicines. Gardeners may recognize echinacea as the purple coneflower. The three species are not interchangeable, although they may sometimes be confused with one another. Each may have a different balance of active compounds. Of course, the roots also differ from the aboveground parts of the plant, though both are utilized medicinally. The chemistry of echinacea is complex, and no single ingredient has been identified as primarily responsible for the therapeutic activity.
One thing to remember is echinacea should be taken on an as-needed basis or at the change of a season. Not continually. Echinacea boosts the immune system but continual use may actually lessen the effectiveness of your own immune system. Maximum time to take the herb has been suggested at six to eight weeks. Echinacea is generally a very safe herb with side effects being very rare even when taken in large doses. One of the problems with echinacea is that the different species may be confused by people gathering the herb from the wild.
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