Echinacea has had a rich history of contributing to the lives of the people who cultivate it. With hundreds of years of use and experimentation, the benefits of echinacea have become firmly established by both science and history. Here are a few of the benefits.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked of the attributes of echinacea is its ability to arrest the body's natural pain reception. The two best ways to use echinacea for pain relief would be to either make a tea from the plant, or to apply it topically directly to the area affected. Native people learned that the plant could be chewed or drank in a tea to reduce toothaches, and this use for pain relief began to extend beyond dental application.
In ancient times, echinacea was used to treat all sorts of injuries, but it is believed that the practice came from using it to tend snake bite, and was extended to use for the purpose of treating pain associated with venereal diseases.
The most common way that echinacea is currently used is simply for immune support. Usually found in pill form, these supplements can be bought over the counter, but it's debatable as to what percentages are in each supplement. Many of these will be in gel caps, and companies have been known to cut their purity by adding fillers. It would probably be preferable to ingest the plant in a tea or chewed form to get the maximum benefits that come from echinacea.
It has been noted that those who regularly consume echinacea generally experience colds and flus for about half of the length of most people. It also reduces the severity and chances of getting colds.
Another way that echinacea is a great ally to your immune system, is that it can directly fight off infections. When microorganisms get into the body, a weak immune system could expose you to the possibility of being overrun with illness. Echinacea helps the body by killing these agents, and some have even noted that it can kill serious viral infections. It can’t eliminate these viruses, but it can keep them low enough to reduce appearances of some of the more serious symptoms that are caused by these illnesses.
It Can Reduce Inflammation
One of the most important parts of healing the body is the reduction of inflammation. This part of the process is meant to protect the wound while it heals slowly or until you take action to heal the area. Echinacea can take down the painful swelling that can work against you in the need to speed up the healing process.
It Can Fight Cancer
A benchmark of a great healing plant is its ability to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Given that echinacea has all of both of these important factors, it should be no surprise that it can extend to protect you against some of the most serious illnesses. Cancer thrives on genetically damaged areas of the body.
The stresses placed on your DNA can cause anomalies, tumors and cancers in the body because the damaged DNA is unable to construct organs properly. These destructive malformations can spread resulting in serious damages and death. Ingesting echinacea works to help your body protect itself from these genetic issues.
Helps Your Skin
Few people think of the skin an organ, but it is one of the largest organs in the body. As you go through life, you are exposed to a massive array of pollutant, and irritants from every side. Skin is sensitive, and can easily become inflamed when you get to close to something that your skin doesn’t particularly like. Echinacea has the ability to reduce and protect against the agents that cause these responses.
You can mash the plant into a paste that you apply directly to the site of disturbed skin. You can also make a poultice that you press against the area.
Helps Your Breathing
Have you ever had issues with asthma, strep throat, or a crouping cough? Echinacea is especially good at dealing with upper respiratory issues. In recent years, studies have revealed that echinacea has performed comparably to traditional medicines for asthma, because it was quick to reduce inflammation of the bronchial tubes and lungs. Some of the other respiratory illnesses it has been used for having been diphtheria, tuberculosis, and whooping cough.
In these cases however, much higher doses were needed, so you may want to try an essential oil, or supplement rather than drinking a tea, because the agents needed should be higher in dose than tea can provide.
New information made available by scientists who have been carrying out studies on echinacea have discovered another interesting effect that it can dole out. Apparently, echinacea angustifolia can help fight depression. It was observed that taking small doses of echinacea supplements around 15 - 25 milligrams can help alleviate some symptoms of anxiety and depression.
This great news for future research in natural ways to deal with depression. This opens up a host of new possibilities for people who would like to be able to take a safe pill that can help them manage their emotions, but much more information is needed before a study can be set up to test drugs that are developed using this route. Typically, licensing obstacles prevent companies from wanting to do experimentation using natural products.
It Can Be a Laxative
Echinacea is truly a wonder herb. Studies have acknowledged that drinking 2 cups of echinacea tea a day can help make you more regular. Echinacea is apparently very effective as a laxative, so be careful about the amounts taken it could change the outcome of your day.