echinaceapurpurea large Echinacea

Echinacea | Echinacea pupurea/angustifolia/pallida

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include echinacea, purple coneflower, snakeroot, Indian Head, Black Sampson, Kansas coneflower amongst many others.


Echinacea is a perennial plant native to eastern and central North America, preferring to grow in massive stands amongst the open grassy prairies and open woodland. It thrives in sunny places with well drained soil.

Echinacea has been used for centuries by native Americans for a myriad of conditions, even being found in archaeological digs of native settlements that are well over 200 years old but is presumed to be in use as a medicine much earlier than that.


Echinacea organic dried root and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.


harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

The root is the part most often used in medicine but the whole above ground plant can also be used or both combined. Many suggest the root is more active medicinally.
The roots are best harvested when the plants are at least 3 years old as their medicinal content seems to be strongest by this time. Harvest the roots when the flowers have died back in Autumn. Wash thoroughly and cut into half inch sized pieces before spreading thinly on a drying tray. Check regularly for mould/spoilage and when hard and dry, store in an airtight jar in a cool dark place.


Echinacea organic dried root and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.




therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

The Echinacea family have been in use for a very long time by the native peoples of North America as an immune enhancer, for cooling and soothing pain and inflammation, for various cancers, for treating all kinds of sepsis and blood poisoning and for snake/insect bites and stings, amongst other things.
Due to its immune stimulating action, it has been suggested that echinacea should not be used in so called 'auto-immune disorders' (such as lupus, Crohns, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes etc.) as it may increase the destructive action of an already over zealous immune system. This does not seem to be the case however, based on historical use and present day investigations into its actions. In this research abstract, it seems that echinacea may actually promote healing in Type 1 diabetes and not increase auto-immunity (if indeed auto-immune disease as described by allopathic medicine actually exists, try this article for starters).
Cools an overheated system and will help to gently lower fevers and ease any infection.
Echinacea has an anti-inflammatory action.
The lymphatic system and any disorders associated with the lymph nodes and fluids can be helped with Echinacea.
Echinacea is a potent antioxidant and can be effective against many infections anywhere in the body, any infections where antibiotics might be prescribed:
It is a well known immune system enhancer, suitable for any kind of infection including chest, ear and lung, coughs, whooping cough, asthma (particularly if triggered by viruses etc), tonsillitis, quinsy,  tuberculosis, bronchitis, pleurisy, glandular fever, sore throat (laryngitispharyngitis), sinusitis, hayfever and allergies, ear infections, infected adenoids and infections such as MRSA and those following surgery etc.
It helps in the prevention of infection, lessens the intensity of an infection and speeds up the resolution of infection making it very useful in colds and flu, STD's such as gonorrhoea, herpes and syphilis and many other genitourinary system infections. It fires up the immune system in several activates natural killer cells in the body, enhances the formation of specific antibodies and stimulates macrophage function.
It can be used for infection anywhere in the body including the spleen (splenic infection and anaemia), nervous system (shingles), the reproductive area (salpingitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, orchitis, penis infections, endometriosis, cystitis, cervical infection), infections of the salivary glands (mumps), the pancreas (pancreatitis), the brain (meningitis), the breasts (mastitis), the liver (hepatitis), the digestive system (gastro-enteritis, dysentery, diverticulitis, celiac disease), infection caused by purulent embolism, eye infections (conjunctivitis) and ear infections.
Echinacea is effective against certain viruses, bacteria and fungal afflictions.
Blood poisoning, septicaemia and gangrene can all benefit from echinacea root.
Echinacea root can help in anaemia as it increases red blood cell production.
Bathing the area with a wash of echinacea root can help to soothe and disinfect afflictions such as snake and insect bites, insect stings, plant irritations and wounds of all kinds.
Taken in large doses it can help with serious infections such as appendicitis and tetanus.
Recent research suggests that echinacea may protect against nerve degeneration in diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons. It can also help with shingles and may be of use in ME.
When used in a holistic manner (alongside diet and lifestyle changes) echinacea can also be useful in the treatment of candida, thrush and even worms and parasites.
Stubborn skin diseases such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, abscess and cysts, ringworm, impetigo and athletes foot can all benefit from echinacea and it even shows some protective activity for the skin against sun damage. Itchy skin conditions may also respond well. Ingrowing hairs can be cleared of infection too.
Can be effective against many childhood infections such as scarlet fever, rubella, measles,
chicken pox.
Sore throat, gums (gingivitis), mouth infections, toothache and tooth abscess, often the fresh roots were chewed by various native American tribes. Echinacea has been known as a blood purifier in the past and can prove very useful for signs of toxic overload such as boils, abscesses and other hot and inflamed skin reactions. Bad breath caused by mouth or gum infections may also be cleared up with echincea.
Pain relief, wound treatment, helps to clear scar tissue and can prevent infection from burns.
Can be used against radiation sickness.
Echinacea root is showing increasing promise against certain types of cancer cells (pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer and colon cancer so far....)
Here is a link to the book 'Echinacea: Natures's Immune enhancer' by Stephen Foster which you can browse through freely online. It details historical medicinal use by native American peoples and how it came to be used and appreciated by the white settlers.
Another link to some wonderful stories concerning the miracles performed by echinacea can be found here on Henriette's Herbal Homepage. Also has some lovely pictures of echinacea.

dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

* Echinacea is generally considered a safe herb with no toxic or serious adverse effects known. Occasional tummy upset (diarrhoea) has been reported by a few users.


Tincture (root) : up to 5ml taken 3 times daily.

Dried root in tea form : 1g of dried root, simmered in a cup of water for 15 minutes, 3 times daily. A piece of dried or fresh root can be chewed for afflictions of the mouth or teeth etc.


The tea or tincture can be applied topically (as well as taking internally), directly onto the skin in cases such as acne, wound cleaning, bites and stings etc.


Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.





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