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Fact Sheet Number 726
WHAT IS ECHINACEA?
Echinacea is a flowering plant. It is
sometimes called Purple Coneflower. It
grows mainly in Europe and the North
America. There are several closely
related species: Echinacea purpurea,
angustifolia, and pallida. They have
slightly different medicinal properties.
Echinacea purpurea seems more active in
the test tube. Echinacea angustifolia
appears more effective in people.
Echinacea was the main medicinal herb
used by Native Americans in the Great
Plains region. Since the late 1930s,
echinacea and its effects on the immune
system. Echinacea is one of the most
frequently sold herbs in the United States.
The German government has approved
Echinacea pallida root and Echinacea
purpurea leaf for use against colds, flu,
respiratory or urinary
infections. Many studies support its use.
However, a US study in 2006 found no
benefits from one particular preparation.
HOW IS ECHINACEA USED?
Advocates of Echinacea suggest drinking
it from small batches made from herbs
less than one year old. Echinacea is
available in capsules containing a powder
of the dried plant or root, and also as a
tincture (an alcohol-based preparation).
In some cases, people drink pressed juice
from fresh plants. For treating skin
containing pressed juice are used.
The suggested dosage of echinacea
depends on which species and which
parts of the plant were used. In general, it
should not be used for more than 1-2
weeks at a time.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF
The major use of echin