Echinacea, also known as coneflower, is a medicinal herb extracted from the leaves and roots of the plant. The plant bears pink and purple flowers from its tall stems. In the center of each flower is a large seed head with sharp spines. Only three of nine plant species is used in echinacea preparations.
The herb contains copper, enzymes, fatty acids, glucose, potassium, protein, resin, sulfur, tannins, and vitamins A, C, and E. Echinacea may stimulate the immune and lymphatic systems to fight infection. In ointment (or cream) form it may be used to treat slow-healing wounds. Because of its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, it may help reduce inflammation (eg, rheumatoid arthritis), pain, and colds and flu.
Sources of Echinacea
Echinacea is available in the following forms: fresh, freeze-dried, liquid extracts, teas, capsules, tablets, and ointments.
Guidelines and Cautions
Always follow package directions. Discuss long-term use with a medical professional.
Do not use echinacea if any of the following exist:
- Allergic to ragweed
- Autoimmune disease
- Undergoing immunosuppressant therapy
- Multiple sclerosis
- AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), or HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection.
Disclaimer: Many people report feeling improvement in their condition and/or general well-being taking dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements. The Editorial Board of SpineUniverse.com, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer-reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.