So, you are sneezing non-stop. A cold’s usually nothing to worry about, but it can get in the way if you have important tasks to complete. You’ll need to know about echinacea and its health benefits.
And they are many. We’ll explain what this plant is, what benefits and side effects it has, and how to use it.
What Is Echinacea?
There are nine species of the Echinacea, also known as the Purple Coneflower, and all nine are native to South America. The Native Americans have used it to cure minor flu-like ailments like coughs, colds, and sore throats. It also treats snake bites.
The flower has immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a popular herbal supplement and remedy today.
How Echinacea Works
The plant has many active substances, and some of these are antimicrobial. They relieve a disrupted immune system. Each of the nine species of Echinacea has compounds known as phenols.
These control enzymes and nerve receptors. They also have antioxidant properties. This plant also has alkylamines and Alkamides, which have a positive effect on the immune system.
6 Echinacea Benefits and Side Effects
Echinacea is a natural remedy for many ailments. This miracle flower has endless benefits and some limitations as well.
1. Anti-inflammatory Agent and Pain Reliever
First of all, Echinacea decreases the severity of colds, according to research on 282 patients. Take some Echinacea if you find yourself sneezing often. Another piece of research shows that it prevents colds and shortens their durations.
Also, this flower promotes the body’s immune response by fighting inflammation and infectious diseases. A study of six adults revealed that it caused the body to produce more molecules that fight infection. According to research, this plant had an anti-inflammatory effect on rats.
It also expanded the airways of guinea pigs. Echinacea inhibits cyclooxygenase, an enzyme that controls inflammation. Not surprisingly, this herb combats infections like herpes, rhinoviruses, and other influenza-like viruses. Note that it isn’t effective against diseases once they’ve entered a cell.
It prevented them from entering dog kidney cells, according to this study. Ir also decreased the severity of the flu in mice. Furthermore, this plant prevents collagen breakdown and heals wounds. It owes this to its antioxidant ability and propensity to reduce skin irritation.
This plant stops the TRPV1 Receptor, which guides our perception of pain and prevents cells from becoming inflamed. It also stops cyclooxygenase enzymes, the target of NSAID drugs.
2. Antifungal Properties
In one study, Echinacea prevented yeast from growing and stopped the growth of different fungi in mice. Experts attribute this trait to its ability to destroy the fungal cell wall.
3. Combats Cancer
Research has proven that it inhibits cancer cells as well. An extensive study reveals Echinacea’s ability to inhibit the growth of cancer in the colon. It also prevented cells from becoming destroyed by chemotherapy.
Moreover, this flower increases antioxidant activity by combating free radicals. Mice injected with it had an increased amount of antioxidants.
4. Fights Diabetes
Also, Echinacea decreases the body’s resistance to insulin. It did so in mouse cells, according to this study. This plant is useful in the treatment of insulin resistance as a result of obesity.
Echinacea benefits a person’s cognitive functions as well. It reduced the worries of 32 healthy adults. It also did so in rats because of its ability to bind with the CB Cannabinoid Receptor.
Echinacea has been proven to be active on animals, but not yet on humans. Its potency varies between the nine species. Drug interactions may also interfere with the body’s response to it.
How to Use Echinacea to Treat Ailments
Other than the common cold, you can use Echinacea to treat a variety of inflammatory illnesses. It also assists in nurturing or remedying a person’s cognitive functions. First of all, Echinacea treats heartburn. Having autoimmune properties, it eases the infection of the bloodstream.
It also prevents gum diseases. People who live in forested areas use it to remedy snake bites. Echinacea tends to benefit the digestive system by reducing inflammation in the gut and breaking food down. A versatile herb which reduces infection, it also remedies conditions such as Septicemia and Diptheria, and another flu-like illness, malaria.
People rely on it to relieve the symptoms of these infections, some of which mirror those of the common cold. This herb regulates the receptors in a person’s brain cells, limiting disorders like Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder. It also relieves fatigue. Take some Echinacea tea when you feel exhausted, and watch the symptoms disappear.
You can prepare Echinacea in many ways to relieve the symptoms of common ailments. Try any of the suggestions below.
1. Refreshing Throat Spray
This recipe is for you if a throat infection troubles you. You will need:
- 1/4 cup Echinacea Tincture
- 1/8 cup of water
- 1/8 cup of vegetable glycerin
- A drop of peppermint essential oil
Combine the tincture with the water and glycerin. Add the essential oil, one drop at a time, until the mixture is of the right flavor. Pour it into a spritzer bottle and spray it into the back of your throat. You’ll find it healing and soothing.
2. Echinacea Tincture for the Winter
Another way to harness the benefits of Echinacea is with this concoction. Though it takes time to prepare, the results are pleasing.
You will need:
- A glass jar
- Echinacea from your garden
This recipe requires you to use a whole Echinacea plant. Collect fresh Echinacea leaves in the spring. Pack them in a quart canning jar and cover them with a layer of alcohol such as gin, brandy, or vodka.
Place this concoction on a kitchen shelf and shake it a few times daily. You’ll notice the buds on the leaves ripen and when they do, collect them and add them.
As the flowers bloom, but before they are past their prime, gather them and add them to the jar. Note that you should continue to shake the mixture daily. You may have to move it to a gallon jar if it becomes too full. Make sure that you keep the alcohol level two inches above the herbs.
In the fall, you’ll find the plant’s energy-returning to its roots. Dig them up on an afternoon and clean them. Add them to the bottle after rinsing them thoroughly. Again, ensure that you cover them with about two inches of alcohol.
Then, let the mixture sit for another month before straining and rebottling it. It’s ready to consume; take half a teaspoon of it every half an hour to relieve a cold or sore throat. Remember to increase your dose only if you’re trying to fight off the beginning stages of an infection.
3. Regular Echinacea
Although this remedy isn’t as strong as the one above, it’s an efficient alternative if time is short. It won’t be as useful as the whole plant mixture because different parts of the Echinacea plant have healing properties.
You will need:
- Echinacea root, fresh or dried
- A canning jar
Place the Echinacea root in the container and cover it with your favorite alcohol. Make sure that the liquid covers it by at least one to two inches. Place the jar where you’ll remember it, and shake it daily. Let it sit for a month before rebottling it for use.
In all, echinacea has many health benefits that are waiting for you to explore. Try Echinacea recipes if you find yourself sniffling persistently.
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