Native Americans introduced the settlers to the wonders of this purple coneflower plant. The reputation of Echinacea reached Europe and eventually it has become one of the most popular and well researched herbs available.
Echinacea produces a beneficial effect on the immune system. It helps to balance the glands, especially the liver and lymphatic system. It has been used to purify the blood and increase the body’s resistance to poisons, snake and spider bites.
Many studies have shown that echinacea inhibits the production of an enzyme known as hyaluronidase, which allows pathogens to penetrate healthy organisms. In this way echinacea helps the body defend against unwanted invaders. In 1972, a study in the Journal of Medical Chemistry revealed that an echinacea extract slowed tumor growth in rats. Echinacea has also been used to help restore normal immune function in patients during chemotherapy. A 1978 study in Planta Medica showed that a root extract eliminated both herpes and influenza viruses.
European studies have shown echinacea appears to reduce the duration of colds and flu. Echinacea has also been used successfully to treat candida, an uncomfortable and persistent yeast infection. In fact, patients using an antifungal cream in conjunction with echinacea extract were less likely to experience a recurrence than those treated with the antifungal cream alone. Other studies show that echinacea has been used to treat psoriasis and eczema with excellent results.
Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph.,Ph.D. Fireside Books (Simon & Schuster) (c) 1992. Pages 83, 84
The Vitamin, Herb Guide, Global Health Ltd. (c) 1987. Page 74.