Echinacea

General Information

Common Name:

Echinacea

Latin Name:

  • Echinacea Purpurea
  • Echinacea Angustifolia
  • Echinacea Pallido

Family:

Asteraceae

Other Names:

  • American coneflower
  • Black Sampson
  • Missouri snake root
  • Rudbeckia
  • Scurvy root

Indications & Historical Uses

  • Immunity booster, especially against colds and flu.
  • As an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, sedative and anti-spasmodic.
  • As an adjunct to treatment of throat infections.
  • Anti-viral.
  • Wound healing.

For skin conditions like eczema ,psoriasis and herpes

Echinacea is the forgotten herb , recently, rediscovered and appreciated for its ability to enhance our innate infection-fighting ability. For centuries, many native North American tribes such as the Cheyennes and Comanches have used Echinacea,or purple cone flower, in topical and ingestible medicinal herb preparations .This herb was used by native Americans to aid in healing insect bites, skin wounds, toothaches and to treat mumps, colds, arthritis and a wide variety of other medical conditions. Although its use was largely abandoned once antibiotics became popular, the medical community is recognizing its usefulness once again, especially in this age of antibiotic resistance .Recent clinical trials support the use of Echinacea to treat colds and flu and to strengthen the immune system to optimize our infection fighting ability against a variety of other illnesses, such as herpes, bronchitis, tonsillitis, influenza, meningitis ,tuberculosis, abscesses, whooping cough, arthritis, ear infections and many other conditions.

Contraindications & Precautions

Contraindictions:
Should not be used by persons suffering from severe systemic illnesses such as collagen diseases, multiple sclerosis, asthma, diabetes, leukemia, tuberculosis, immunocompromised individuals (HIV/ AIDS) and individuals receiving immunosuppressive therapy (such as corticosteroids and cyclosporine). Also See Caution.

Precautions:
See above and Caution. Do not use if you are allergic to sunflowers .Prolonged use of echinacea may depress the immune system probably because of overstimulation and therefore echinacea should be taken for only 2-3 months at a time or on and off alternating schedule every few weeks.

Drug Interaction:
May interfere with immunosuppressive therapy.

Dosage Information

How Supplied:

500 mg capsules.

Dosage:

500mg. extract two times a day during flu season.

Pharmacology

Roots and leaves contain the most potent immunostimulating components. Echinacea contains Polysaccharides and Phytosterols, which have stimulatory effects on the immune system, particularly the complement pathway. It increases phagocytosis, and promotes the activity of lymphocytes, increasing release of tumor necrosis factor[TNF]. It also stimulates adrenal cortical activity, induces production of interferon and properidin and inhibits production of hyaluronidase and as a result promotes wound healing and has anti-inflammatory effects. Echinacosides appear to have antibacterial activity. All these actions tend to increase the body’s resistance to viral and bacterial activity. .

Active Ingredients:

  • Polysacharrides
  • Echinacosides
  • Caffeic Acid Glycoside
  • Essential oils [ humulene,caryophylene]
  • Polyacetylenes
  • Sesquiterpene Esters
  • Flavonoids

Enhancing Agents:

  • Golden seal
  • Ginseng
  • Astragalus
  • Licorice

Origin

Echinacea Angustifolia ,a member of the daisy family, is native to the American Midwest. It has thick narrow leaves and bears a single flower distinguished by purple rays emanating from a coned shaped centre. The black root stock is used medicinally.

Processing

Cold water/ethanol extraction (repercolation) Evaporation at low temperature, low pressure.

Scientific References

Foster, S. (1991) Echinacea, The Purple Cornflower. American Botanical Council, No. 301.

Hobbs, C.(1989) The Echinacea handbook. Portland, OR: Eclectic Medical Publication.

Mowrey, D. (1990) Guaranteed Potency Herbs. A Compilation of writings on the subject.

Mowrey, D. (1986) The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. Cormorant Books.

Samochowiez, E. et al. (1979) Evaluation of the effect of Calendula officinalis and Echinacea angustifolia on Trichomonas vaginalis in vitro. Wiadmosci Parazytologiczne. 25(1):77.

Tragni,E. et al. (1985) Evidence from two classic irritation tests for an anti-inflammatory action of a natural extract, Echinacin B. Food and Chem. Toxic. 23(1):317.

Wacker, A. and Hilbig, A. (1981) An immunostimulating active principle from Echinacea purpurea. Agnew. Phytother. 2(5):166.

Weiner,M. (1990) Weiner’s Herbal. Mill Valley: Quantum Books.

Brophy, J.J.: “Chapter 19” in current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 1990, S.A. Schroeder, M.A. Krupp, L.M. Tierney, Jr., and S.J. McPhee, eds., Appleton & Lange, Norwalk, Connecticut, 1990, pp.710-714.

Foster, S.: Asian Ginseng: Panax ginseng, Botanical Series No. 303, American Botanical Council, Austin, Texas, 1991, 7 pp.

Foster, S.: American Ginseng: Panax quinquefolius, Botanical Series No. 308, American Botanical Council, Austin, Texas, 1991, 8 pp.

Chandler, R.F.: Canadian Pharmaceutical Journal 121:36-38 (1988).

Lawrence Review of Natural Products: March, 1990.

Wren, R.C.: Potter’s New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations, rev. ed., D.W. Daniel, Saffron Walden, England, 1988, pp. 129-130.

Barna, P.: Lancet II:548 (1985).

Staba, E.J.: Lancet II:1309-1310 (1985).

Lewis, W.H.: “Chapter 15” in Plants in Indigenous Medicine & Diet: Biobehavioral Approaches, N.L. Etkin, ed., Redgrave Publishing, Bedford Hills, New York, 1986, pp. 290-305.

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