Echinacea Purpea

AKA Great Herbal Diplomat. Coneflower. Wetop (widows’ comb). Kansas Snakeroot. Scurvy Root

Family | Aster

Where it grows | Native to open areas in Eastern and Central parts of North America. Easy to grow, loves full sun and warm weather. There are 9 species native to N.A. E. angustifoliaand E.purpeaare of proven efficacy but local varieties can be used as well. 

Herbal Actions | Antimicrobial, Immunomodulator, Anti-inflammatory, Anticatarrhal, Vulnerary, Alterative, Nutritive, Antiseptic, Antifungal, Anti-bacterial, Diaphoretic 

Body Systems | Immune, Lymphatic, Respiratory 

Parts Used | Whole root dug during dormancy and used fresh or dried. Leaves and flowers (without stems) harvested at peak flower and used fresh or dried. The flower heads must be split before drying. Use snips. Seeds harvested at maturity and dried.

Energetics |Heat clearing, Cooling, Stimulating, Diffusive, Tingling, 

Medicinal Uses

Raises the body’s natural resistance to infection – in part by increasing macrophage and T-cell activity;

Rich in polysaccharides, it helps to protect cells again a viral invasion;

Treats colds, influenza and upper respiratory infections such as laryngitis, tonsillitis and other conditions of the nose and sinus;

Helps wound healing when used topically. It can also be used to treat septic sores and cuts.

In Germany, used along with chemotherapy in the treatment of Cancer (may enhance white blood cell count); Lymphatic support 

Contraindications | Not to be taken during Leukemia. Taking high dosages for a lengthy amount of time is not recommended as it can be counterproductive. It is not an immune tonic. According to TCM, in order for Echinacea to be effective the individual must have a strong constitution and also exhibit heat in the lungs, stomach or blood. 

Preparation Methods | Fresh or dried root; capsules; tablets; expressed juice of flowering plant; tinctures

*Look for tinctures made with 50% alcohol content, because active constituents are better extracted in this menstruum 

Dosing Guidelines | Capsules: Up to nine 300-400 mg per day; Tincture: 3-5mL four to six times per day – as needed at the onset of symptoms of cold or flu; Freeze dried plants: 325 – 650 mg three times a day; Juice: 0.75 – 1.25 tsp three times a day; Powdered extract: 300 mg three times a day

Jewish take on it | “Jewish Echinacea” is referred to as Guggle Muggle, consisting of egg yolk, sugar, milk and alcohol. Its origins are a bit murky, but the remedy may have its roots in the “Shulkan Orech”, or code of Jewish law, written in 16th century Spain by Rabbi Yosef Caro. It specifies that a drink of this type may be consumed on the Sabbath for its medicinal qualities, without violating the Sabbath laws (Chapter 92:1).

References | Medical Herbalism, David Hoffmann; Herbal Therapy and Supplements by Merrily A. Kuhn and David Winston; The Earthwise Herbal by Matthew Wood; Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech; Nathaniel Whitmore