The genus Echinacea has ten species, commonly called coneflowers. They are found only in eastern and central North America, where they grow in moist to dry prairies, grasslands and open wooded areas and many gardens as well! They have large, showy composite flowers and bloom from early to late summer.
Echinacea purpurea is the medicinal herb from this Asteraceae family. It is a perennial medicinal herb with important immuno-stimulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, especially the alleviation of cold and flu symptoms. Echinacea is a go to to build immunity especially during the winter months. All parts of the plant are used. When purchasing echinacea bulk as tinctures or capsules, you'll want to be sure it's the whole plant; leaf, flower, seeds and root being used for maximum benefit.
This herbs is best used as a tonic starting in the late part of summer or very early fall. Used in this way it is able to help boost T-cell production and boost your immune system. Echinacea works well in combinations with other herbs such as goldenseal, astragalus and other herbs that support immunity and detoxification. Since inflammation is an integral part of compromised immunity, echinacea benefits those suffering from any autoimmune disorders which present with inflammation as a byproduct of the immune system imbalance.
In recent years cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have been proven to benefit from the infection protection echinacea offers! Echinacea is now being widely studied to document claims that natural healers and herbalist have known about for many years. It's a true homegrown healer for those of us in the North American Continent!
Here are some of my favorite echinacea products and producers.
Herb Pharm - since 1979!
Herb Pharm offers this package of winter must haves, Immune Collection
Traditional Medicinals makes this great tea! Echinacea Plus
In times past I had to make my own tinctures, but with todays modern methods of standardization you really cannot beat products manufactured by reputable companies such as these two.
Certified Wellness Consultant speaks up!