Echinacea

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Background

Different parts of the plant are used to make different products — tincture and tea are made from the roots and juice is made from the leaves, stems and flowers.

Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs in both Europe and the USA.

Normal, healthy people do not need to take Echinacea regularly. It works best if taken at the start of an infection: when the first symptoms appear. It becomes less effective once an infection has taken root.

Keep a supply handy in the first-aid kit.

Uses

It is a general booster for the immune system and is taken to fight colds, flu and other infections.

It is most effective if you take it at the first signs of a cold or flu.

If you take it once you have a cold or flu, it should make the symptoms less severe and you won’t feel so ill. It may also help you get back to normal more quickly.

Echinacea ointment can be applied to cuts, burns, insect bites and skin infections. It reduces inflammation and has mild antibiotic, anti-fungal and anti-viral actions.

Dose

Low doses are not any good. You need to take about 1 gram a day in capsule form; 20 ml of tincture a day or 3 to 6 cups of Echinacea tea a day. And you should take it for 7 to 14 days.

There is no need to take Echinacea all the time. Take it for a maximum of eight weeks, and then stop.

Safety

Echinacea has an excellent safety record. There is no known toxicity even with high doses. It may cause minor nausea and dizziness.

Don't take Echinacea if you have any of the following: diabetes, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.