Echinacea: The Herb You Need To Have On Hand
By Brandi Monasco
Echinacea is a pretty popular herb. In fact, it is one of the most popular herbs in America today. It has been used by Native Americans for over 400 years to help with infections and wounds; they thought of echinacea as a “cure-all.” It has also been used throughout history to help and alleviate the symptoms of malaria, blood poisoning and scarlet fever.
When a cold hits, many people like to immediately reach for the echinacea and that is with good reason; it has been proven to increase your immune system and reduce the symptoms of colds.
While it is a popular herb for a cold remedy, echinacea is actually more than that and can provide many other health benefits.
Additional health benefits of echinacea:
1. Anti-Inflammatory. Inflammation is often the cause of many diseases such as high blood pressure and Parkinson’s disease. Inflammation can also be caused by environmental or dietary toxins that gradually build up in your system. Echinacea works to reduce different types of inflammation as well as help to alleviate their symptoms.
2. Boosts Your Immune System. Echinacea stimulates your immune system and helps activate the renewal and growth of T-cells as well as the production of antibodies that help fight off infections. It also works in increasing the number of spleen cells and white blood cells being produced. These cells also help in fighting against infections.
3. Improves Skin Problems. When it comes to your skin, echinacea can provide many benefits. One benefit is that using echinacea can help with wounds. The herb is a natural topical disinfectant that can be applied on wounds and help prevent them from infection. Echinacea can also be used to help eczema and psoriasis. The anti-inflammatory property found in echinacea helps to reduce the inflammation and redness as well as alleviating discomfort caused by the skin problems.
4. Helps Oral Health. Echinacea provides anti-microbial properties that help boost your immune system and can help draw out infections from your body. It has also been known as the “toothache plant.” This is because if Native Americans were to ever have a toothache, they would use the echinacea plant to help draw out infection and to alleviate the pain that comes with a toothache.
5. Helps Respiratory Conditions. The anti-inflammatory properties found in echinacea help to expand your airways. It is a great herb to take for those who suffer with asthma or who regularly suffer from bronchitis. Taking echinacea helps to reduce irritation in your airways and reduces the amount of mucus that is produced.
There really is not a standard dose of echinacea that you should take to alleviate symptoms and infections. Some people take echinacea every day while others take it for only a couple of weeks when they feel the onset of a cold or if they have been exposed to someone that has a cold.
- To help a cold, experts suggest taking between 500 and 1,000 milligrams three times a day for 5 to 7 days or up until you start feeling better, but not more than 10 days. You should also make sure not to take echinacea on an empty stomach as it can cause mild discomfort.
- For wounds and cuts, you can apply an echinacea cream or ointment as needed to aid the wound.
- For dental health, take 4 to 6 capsules of echinacea three times a day, or you can take 1 to 2 tablespoons of powdered root mixed with 1 cup of water three times a day.
Echinacea is available in many different forms such as teas, ointments, extracts, tinctures and capsules or tablets. You can usually find these in natural health stores or in your local pharmacy.
Have you tried using echinacea before? What were your experiences? Share with us in the comments below!
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Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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