This daisy family herb, Echinacea angustifolia, is the best-known herb for immune booster and cold and sore throat medicine in North America. Because it boosts immune function and activates phagocytosis, Echinacea may help to fight cold, flu, and other illnesses and inflammation caused by a variety of infectious bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, heal wounds, and relieve of swellings or pains. Currently, Echinecea is one of the most popular herbs in US and Europe.

Echinacea, better known as purple coneflower, is truly native to the United States. Echinacea does not grow wild anywhere else in the world, except the United States and some fields in southern part of Canada. Ecinacea can easily be found growing as a wildflower in the prairies of the Great Plains states, from the midwest states, and as far south as Texas. Nowadays this flower is welcome as an ornamental in many gardens, and cultivated as a herb with beautiful confluence of purplish blossoms.

While echinecia has become popular as a favorable herb in the fight against colds and flu as well as other viruses and infections in recent years, its true potential for health benefits still remain to be fully understood. For several generations, Native Americans were aware of the usefulness of this plant echinasia along with other herbs in dealing with ailments. Of the several varieties of echinecea with widely varying appearances, the three most popular are purpurea, angustifolia and pallida. They can be distinguished from other less potent species by chewing their leaves. More potent ones would give your toungue numbness, an indication of isobutylamides.

Echinacea species are harvested for their roots, flowerheads, seeds, or juice of the whole plant, which can then be made into capsules, extracts, tinctures and tea. Other species of ecinesia could also be medicinally effective although little research has been performed for them.

Echinacea is best known for its ability to enhance immune function, and also has proven to offer other health benefits as well. To find out more detailed information on echinacea, visit the sites listed below, keeping in mind that doing your own research could be a rewarding venture.

Echinacea is a relatively recent medicinal herb that has received a global spotlight, mainly due to the geographical confinement of its habitats. Echinacea was the Plains Indians’ primary medicine. They applied root poultices to all types of wounds including insect bites and snakebites. They used echinacea for teeth and gum pains, and drank echinacea tea to treat colds, smallpox, arthritis, measles, and mumps.

Echinacea was widely in use by Native Americans, and later by colonial settlers before 19th century. In 1870, Native Americans in Pawnee City, Nebraska, taught Dr. Meyer about the use of echinacea, and Meyer soon concocted his own “Meyer’s Blood Purifier”, and promoted it as an absolute cure for rattlesnake bite, blood poinsoning, and a host of other illnesses. In 1902, homeopathic physicians used echinacea for some of the disease treatments, and by 1907, echinacea became the most popular herb in the United States, both among eclectic physicians and conventional doctors.

In 1910, research has found immune stimulating properties of echinacea, such as increasing white blood cell counts. Echinacea then spreads to Germany around 1930: in the year 1930 alone, about 50,000 pounds of echinacea were exported from the US to Germany. With the discovery and production of antibiotics in 1940-1950 period, the popularity and fervor on echinacea decreased remarkably.

In 1970s, herblists in the United States rediscover echinacea, and herbal product manufacturers began to produce eccinacea products again. The trend continued until 1986 when the annual sales of echinacea in the US reached 100,000 pounds. Since then, and today, the interest in echinacea and other herbal medicine continues to grow.