What are the Benefits of Echinacea?
- Supports immunity
- Reduces cold duration and symptoms
- Decreases flu duration and symptoms
- Boosts mental health
- Functions as laxative
- Combats infection
- Helps fight cancer
Echinacea is a traditional herb to which many heath benefits are attributed. However, which among these effects are supported by research?
Let us find out some of the science-backed health benefits of echinacea. Continue to read below.
One of the popular benefits associated with this herb is its effectiveness in curing colds and the flu. There is a truth to this since this plant has been proven to help strengthen the immune system.
The University of Connecticut conducted a meta-analysis study, evaluating effects of echinacea. The result was published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.
It was revealed that echinacea can decrease the risk of acquiring a common cold by up to 58%. The duration of the cold can also be reduced by up to one and a half days. (1)
Moreover, an article reporting that echinacea prevents viral colds was published in Hindawi. It also stated that the best of the echinacea benefits is its ability to cure recurring colds. (1)
One meta-analysis was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2015. It reported the effect of using echinacea right from when the first cold symptoms appear. It concluded that it could decrease the severity and duration of the common cold. (1)
In addition to the common cold, echinacea can help reduce the symptoms and duration of flu.
One 2015 study compared the herb to the drug Oseltamivir. The result showed that it was as effective in reducing the duration and severity of flu symptoms. It could also prevent the flu’s adverse effects by taking the treatment as early as the first infection sign appears. (1)
Echinacea also has a positive effect on mental health. It may help reduce anxiety in patients.
According to research, the echinacea plant has compounds that may decrease feelings of anxiety. Some of them are caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, and alkamides. (1)
The said effect of echinacea on anxiety was seen in a mouse study. The result showed that 3 out of 5 echinacea samples indeed helped lessen anxiety in the subjects. Plus, they did not affect the activeness or the mice. This was contrary to the effect of high dosages of regular treatments. (1)
Another study focused on Echinacea angustifolia extract. It was found out to quickly lessen anxiety in both humans and mice. (1)
Like many other herbs, echinacea can function as a laxative. It is used to heal gastrointestinal tract and stomach ailments.
Based on Medical Herbalism, echinacea may function as a mild laxative. As a result, it can be a calming agent and gives relief to constipation. (1)
In case you are struggling with constipation, drinking echinacea tea is recommended. Drinking one cup of tea a day can loosen your bowels.
Echinacea is also a good remedy for infections.
A study observed the effect of taking echinacea and applying topical cream to the skin. It showed that the treatment decreased the rate of chronic vaginal infections by up to 16%. (1)
Echinacea ca also be effective in fighting bloodstream infections, genital herpes, gum disease, and syphilis. Also, it can be used to combat malaria, typhoid, urinary tract infections, and vaginal yeast infections.
Lastly, echinacea is being eyed as a potential powerful cure for cancer.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) published some information about the effect of echinacea on brain cancer.
Researchers claimed that echinacea has phytochemicals that may contribute a lot to fighting tumours. Some of these phytochemicals have not been discovered in other plants yet. (1)
Echinacea is now recommended as an alternative cancer treatment. It can be used as a replacement or together with conventional therapy.
Indeed, echinacea is promising herbal supplement. However, before deciding to use it as an alternative medicine for your condition, consult your doctor first.
What is Echinacea (Coneflower)?
Echinacea is a light purple coneflower that is popular among gardeners. Its scientific name is Echinacea purpurea.
This herb was discovered by the Great Plains Indian tribes. For over 400 years, echinacea has been used as a traditional herbal remedy by the native North Americans. Its roots, leaves, and flowers are used for making medicines.
How Does Echinacea (Coneflower) Extract Work?
The reason why echinacea is a powerful herb is because of its chemical constituents. They are considered as immunity stimulators. Thus, they have impressive medicinal value.
Some of its chemical contents are vitamin C, polysaccharides, inulin, flavonoids, and essential oils.
The antioxidants of echinacea, such as its flavonoids, rosmarinic acid, and cichoric acid, combat oxidative stress too.
How Do I Take Echinacea Extract ?
Currently, there is no official dosage for echinacea. One of the reasons for this is because research findings are variable.
When purchasing echinacea products, make sure you only get them from trusted brands.
There are some echinacea doses suggested by research for aiding immunity. If you will take dry powdered extract, take 300 to 500 mg three times a day. For liquid extract tinctures, you can take up to 10 ml daily. (1)
However, these recommendations are only for short term usage. The long-term effects of takin echinacea are still unknown.
Can I Take Echinacea Along with Vitamins and Medicines?
Echinacea may interact with some drugs and supplements. For this reason, be careful in taking it along with regular medications.
Among the possible interactions, echinacea may interact with drugs changed by the body. It might increase the effects and risks of side effects when taken with such medications. Some of these drugs are lovastatin (Mevacor), indinavir (Crixivan), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and estrogens.
Echinacea may also interact with midazolam (Versed). The herb supplement might increase the amount of midazolam absorbed by the body. This could result in side effects.
Be careful also when taken echinacea with caffeinated products. Echinacea might reduce the speed of how caffeine is broken by the body. The interaction could trigger side effects, like fast heartbeat, headache, and jitteriness.
Is Echinacea Extract Safe?
For a short time, echinacea supplements appear well-tolerated and safe. Nevertheless, there were cases when side effects were reported.
Some of the possible side effects of echinacea are rashes, itchy skin, hives, swelling, stomach pain, nausea, and shortness of breath. However, the said side effects are usually common among those with allergies to some flowers. These include ragweed, marigolds, chrysanthemums, and daisies.
Echinacea can stimulate the immune system. For this reason, people taking immunosuppressive drugs are not advised to supplement with it.
As abovementioned, the long-term effects of echinacea are still unknown. Therefore, it is always best to consult a healthcare provider before supplementing with it.
How Will Echinacea Extract Benefit Me?
Echinacea has a lot of potential benefits to your health. It is an effective supplement to boost your immunity and fight away colds and flu. It can also help you keep your bowel movement regular.
Also, if you have a problem with anxiety, this can be a good aid for you. This is also proven effective to help fight cancer.
Do you want to try an echinacea product from a reliable brand? You are on the right page. We can help you.