Update on the medicinal properties of echinacea and its indications

Echinacea, this plant with multiple healing powers, is native to North America. Long used by Native Americans, this plant has about ten listed species, three of which are the best known and recognized as having therapeutic virtues, these are: chinacea angustifolia, echinacea purpurea and echinacea pallida. This plant draws its therapeutic powers from its active ingredients. These are alkylamides, complex polysaccharides, alkaloids or even phenolic compounds.

When echinacea is recommended

Its beneficial assets on the respiratory system are the main reason for using echinacea. This explains its use in the treatment and prevention of diseases affecting the respiratory system (flu, sinusitis, etc.). It is also known to have curative powers against vaginal and septicaemic infections, but it is also indicated in cases of allergy or to accelerate the healing of a wound.

Forms of Echinacea in Herbal Medicine

The whole plant, even the roots, can be used as part of a herbal medicine under different forms. In infusion, in decoction or even in the form of capsules, because the phytopharmaceutical industries are also interested in the transformation of this medicinal plant. It is also possible to use echinacea in the form of juice or tincture.

How to use them?

The form most often used is the infusion or decoction, since this does not require much manipulation and is also within reach of everyone. The dosages below are based on the most common practices, and it is very important to start treatment at the first signs ofrespiratory tract infection.

  • For an infusion, infuse 1 g of dried root or plant for about ten minutes in a cup of boiling water. Drink one to six cups of tea per day.
  • For a decoction, also take 1 g of the root and boil it in a cup of water for ten minutes as well. You can drink this decoction up to three times a day.
  • You can also extract the juice from the plant by crushing it and pressing it. Drink this extract three times a day at the rate of 1.5 to 3 ml per dose.
  • In capsule form, you can take the equivalent of 1 g of echinacea three times a day.
  • To treat external wounds, it suffices to apply a cream based onechinacea.
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Contraindication to the use of echinacea

Like any therapeutic treatment, the use of echinacea is not indicated in certain cases. It is not recommended for people suffering from an autoimmune disease or progressive disease to use this plant. The use of echinacea in people with allergic reactions to plants of the Asteraceae family is also contraindicated.

As for its association with drug treatments, echinacea should not be combined with taking steroids or immunosuppressants. Also, it is strongly recommended to use an echinacea-based treatment for no more than three consecutive weeks. Prolonged use of it may have a negative effect on the immune system. However, nothing indicates so far that it cannot be used simultaneously with other medicinal plants.


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