Categories: Medicinal plants

What is echinacea for and how to use it

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Echinacea is a medicinal plant, also known as conical prairie flower, purple prairie flower, coneflower, sun hats, and is widely used as a home remedy in the treatment of colds and flu, relieving runny nose and cough, mainly for its anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties.

The scientific name of this plant is Echinacea spp. and it has several species, the best known being Echinacea purpurea and  Echinacea Angustifolia,  and both are pink flowers.

This medicinal plant can be purchased in various presentations, being for sale its root, dried flowers, and leaves, and even in capsules, it can be bought in pharmacies, natural products stores, online stores, and in some supermarkets in the form of teabags.

What is echinacea for and how to use it

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What is it for

Echinacea is a plant that has many benefits and is popularly used to alleviate the symptoms of flu and colds, help in the treatment of respiratory infections, urinary infections, candidiasis, tooth and gum pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and viral or bacterial diseases, due to to its properties:

Anti-inflammatory;

Antioxidants;

Antimicrobial;

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Detoxifiers;

Laxatives;

Immunostimulants; 

Antiallergic.

In addition, it can be used to heal injuries and as a disinfectant for abscesses, boils, superficial wounds, burns, and poisonings such as snake bites.

However, in these situations it is recommended to seek medical attention first, to find out the causes of these symptoms and indicate the most appropriate conventional treatment, and only afterward, start complementary treatment with echinacea.

How to use echinacea

The used parts of Echinacea are the root, leaves, and flowers, it can be taken in several ways, such as:

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1. Echinacea Tea

Echinacea tea is an excellent solution to take in situations of flu and colds, as it relieves symptoms such as cough and runny nose.

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Ingredients:

1 teaspoon of echinacea root or leaves;

1 cup of boiling water.

Preparation method:

Place 1 teaspoon of the Echinacea root or leaves in a cup of boiling water. Let stand for 15 minutes, strain and drink 2 times a day. Learn about other natural cold and flu options.

2. Echinacea Compresses

Echinacea can also be used on the skin, through the application of a paste based on its roots and leaves.

Ingredients

Echinacea leaves and roots;

A cloth dampened with hot water.

Preparation mode

Crush the leaves and roots of echinacea, with the help of a mortar, until they form a paste.

Then, it should be applied to the affected area with the help of a cloth dampened with hot water.

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3. Tablets or capsules

Echinacea can be found in the form of capsules and tablets, in pharmacies or natural product stores, as in the case of Enax or Imunax, for example.

The usual dose is 300 mg to 500 mg, 3 times a day, however, the doctor or physiotherapist should be consulted so that the correct dose is administered, and can change from one person to another. 

Contraindications

Despite having many benefits, echinacea is contraindicated in cases of allergy to plants of the Asteraceae family, also in patients with HIV, tuberculosis, collagenosis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus.

In addition to this, it should not be used in people with breast cancer treatment without medical guidance. 

In addition, the side effects of echinacea can be transient fever, nausea, vomiting, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth after use.

Various allergic reactions can still occur, such as itching and exacerbation of asthma attacks.

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