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echinacea: natural medicine

echinacea

Echinacea is commonly referred to by various names which include: purple coneflower and American coneflower. Echinacea has nine variations and is indigenous to the United States and Canada only. Throughout the centuries, Echinacea has been one of the most researched and studied of all herbs or plants and within the medical community is highly respected for its various medicinal uses. In addition, because it has been studied vastly, it is one of the few herbs that consumers can find many documented studies about as well as medicinal journals being published on the various benefits of it.

Primarily Echinacea is used to treat various illnesses and has been shown to be effective in doing so. Indians from North America were the first to discover that this herb had healing agents. Since then Western and Eastern cultures have followed suit and incorporated it as one of the most trusted and effective herbal treatments.

It's believed that Echinacea works with the entire immune system by stimulating the cells that work to fight off infections from illnesses like the common cold. The success of Echinacea is due to the fact that unlike antibiotics and vaccines which target one specific disease or illness, Echinacea works with the entire immune system and all of its cells to combat more than one disease at the same time.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Echinacea has natural anti-inflammatory properties which have been shown useful in the treatment of many skin conditions that produce burning, irritation and rashes such as eczema and psoriasis when taken orally or used as an external topical treatment.

The same properties may also help fight off bad bacteria within the body’s cells and blood stream, thus lessening the chance of developing some forms of cancer, herpes and other infections.

Phagocytosis is the process of the body’s cells intercepting the bacteria (both good and bad) from the nutrients that we take in and it is pivotal to cell function. Hundreds of studies have been produced relating to Echinacea and its ability to increase the phagocytosis process thereby assisting cells in collecting the good bacteria and combating the bad. This also helps the white blood cells to fight off serious infections that try to take over the body, decreasing the chance of succumbing to infection and disease.

Those who use Echinacea enjoy the fact that essentially every part of the plant can offer benefits. The plant itself consists of a root, leaves, flower petals and seeds and each component has been found to have aiding properties. It can be found in capsules, liquid form and teas and each is safe to use at the same time or separately.

Treatments of Echinacea

Common Cold: Echinacea is often used to treat or ward off the common cold at first sign that it is coming on. Many of the studies performed and published have recorded that those who take Echinacea in any of its forms at the beginning of the onset of their cold reported shorter lengths of time being sick, recovering faster, and also reported less severe symptoms. Others who were studied who regularly drank Echinacea tea also reported fewer occurrences of developing cold symptoms in general.

Lymph Node Inflammation: Clinical studies have shown that by drinking Echinacea tea a few times per day can lessen the severity of lymph node inflammation.

Cancer: Some elementary studies show that Echinacea (most popularly used in liquid form) may help the body repair itself for those who undergo chemotherapy treatments. The anti-inflammatory agents also help reduce irritation and inflammation which are side effects of chemotherapy.

Period Cramps: Patients that drank several cups of tea with 2-3 drops of liquefied Echinacea per day reported less severe cramps or reported the absence of cramps related to their menstrual cycle altogether.

Uses as an Ointment

Echinacea is often used as a topical ointment as well for things such as burns, scrapes, cuts, ulcers, bites and other skin conditions. Apply a small amount of Echinacea to the affected area and let it dry completely. In older cultures and times, it has been said that Echinacea is also amazing at combating venom and was used when tribal members were bitten by snakes.

Safety Precautions

Wholly thought to be safe, Echinacea can produce nausea, vomiting, dry mouth and insomnia is some people but these reports are rare. It is always a good idea to check with your medical professional before taking any dietary supplement.

It is recommended that those who have auto-immune disorders refrain from using this herb as it could cause conditions to worsen.

Some medications will react with Echinacea poorly such as those used to treat liver dysfunctions or those that are taken to decrease immune systems.

 

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