A brief writing about the medicinal applications of echinacea, and some back-round information regarding the plant’s history.
I wasn’t able to find a chart of where production of Echinacea is commonly found, for the most part it would seem that it’s primarily being grown in less industrious regions such as Latin America and Africa. Echinacea plants have pliable growing conditions and can be grown in a very large part of the world, and often appear in the wilds of America and Europe.
Three species of echinacea are recognized for medicinal properties (echinacea purpurea-echinacea pallida-echinacea angustifolia), these species are also commonly grown in personal gardens in the States and Europe.
Recent peer-reviewed studies done in the States have been faulty to distinguish the species as unable to produce immunostimulatory effects, their research has proven to be hysterical and quite frankly poorly carried out. Instead of following what herbalist’s recommend as dosage, and what plants are typically used, they use random species of echinacea and say the plant is useless in medicine.. Or better yet, in another incidence of a poorly done study, echinacea purpurea was used but their dosage was less than a FOURTH of what it should’ve been. These studies are the reason that echinacea is not allowed to be sold as a legit OTC medicine, their fraudulence is overbearing when I think of it. The very same scientific community that said a compilation of studies about echinacea was inaccurate because they weren’t all similar, then blundered about with their own methods oblivious to what was outlined in common herbology as proper dosing procedure. (rant over)
Echinacea has been used by the native Americans in the U.S. for cold symptoms, and was used as a cure-all at the time for its ability to lessen the severity of general infection. Its immunomodulatory effects work primarily in your sinus cavities and your ears, and has been used in popular folk medicine (think early 20th century and late 19th century) for infections within these regions. The native Americans supposedly used echinacea plants for medicinal purposes because certain animals, like the elk, would seek it out when they were ill.. This lead to it being called ‘elk root’ or ‘elk flower’.
The plant can be used as a whole body anti-microbial because it is immunostimulatory within your head, and your head has the majority of blood flow. This means that increasing your immune system within the head would have it act sort of like a strainer for the rest of the body, since the BBB doesn’t prevent all harmful microbes from entering it.
There is no conclusive data involving echinacea and anti-cancerous effects, since it often isn’t given to people for more than two weeks. The EMEA (European Medicines Agency) recognizes and allows the use of echinacea plant products for short-term treatment of the common cold, and prevention of the common cold when necessary. They also speculate that the use of echinacea plant products should be avoided by newborns who are under a year old, and that use whilst pregnant is ill advised.
Back to the blends of echinacea that are medicinally active/useful, I should express that you should find a trustworthy seller if you’re looking to purchase this product as a recent consensus in the States found that many supplement manufacturers weren’t selling the product in full or as advertised. It’s best to use brands that contain all three of the varieties, these have been shown in herbology to be useful when used together, also be wary of the dosing as often times it may be off.
If you have autoimmune disease localized in the brain or heart, I suggest you pay caution when consuming echinacea.
Hope this read has been informative, not really as useful as usual but echinacea is a nice plant to have around for ear and nasal infections.. Using it for the cold is probably not the best idea as stated above short-term use is suggested so it could have negative long-term effects similar to antibiotics.