The history of the echinacea purpurea it is full of curosities. Native Americans used echinacea for hundreds of years before the arrival of European explorers, settlers, and colonizers.
The Plains Indians of North America used widely Echinacea angustifolia for general medical purposes.
It is endemic to eastern and central North America and thrives in wet to dry grasslands and open forests.
History of echinacea purpurea
In the early nineteenth century, echinacea became a popular herbal remedy for those who had settled in the United States, but its medicinal properties gradually expanded and it was soon used in a common way in Europe as well.
In the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, echinacea was used to treat anthrax infections, snakebites and also as an analgesic. Today, many of these treatments are not scientifically disproved, but others have been discovered that are.
It was from the twentieth century when it became much more popular, after research was carried out in Germany in the 1920s on its properties.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, echinacea became enormously popular in Europe and North America as an herbal medicine.
Echinacea was first used as a treatment for the common cold when a Swiss supplement manufacturer mistakenly understood that it could prevent colds, and that the Native American tribes of South Dakota used it for that purpose.
Native American Indians did not commonly use echinacea purpurea for the treatment or prevention of colds. Some, such as kiowa and cheyenne, used it for sore throat and cough, while the Pawnee said it was useful for headaches.
In fact, Native Americans say we learned to use echinacea by watching the moose for the grass and eating it when they were injured or sick. They named it “moose root”.
How it works echinacea purpurea as a medicinal plant
Echinacea purpurea it has a complex mix of active substances, some of which are said to be antimicrobial, while others are thought to have an effect on the human immune system.
All species of this herbal remedy have compounds known as phenols. In fact, this phytochemical is common in many other medicinal plants, as they are active substances that control the activity of a number of enzymes and cell receptors, and protect the plant from infections and damage by ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Applied to humans, these phenols have antioxidant properties.
Echinacea purpurea also contains alkylamides or alkamides, (although not inchinacea pallida), which have an effect on the immune system, as well as polysaccharides, glycoproteins and caffeic acid derivatives.
Benefits and uses of the plant
Studies have produced conflicting results as to the benefits of echinacea purpurea.
Today, it is widely used around the world for a variety of diseases, infections, and conditions.
This is the list of some of these uses
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Periodontal disease
- Migraine and other headaches
- Skin soothing and analgesic
- Streptococcal infection
- Relief of influenza processes
- Urinary tract infection
- Vaginal infection (yeast)
However, all these treatments must be subjected to deeper research to know the real impact of each of the diseases and echinacea purpurea.
Echinacea for colds
Does echinacea have any effect on the cold or reducing the symptoms of a cold?
Studies have again produced contradictory results:
Científicos of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Connecticut reviewed more than a dozen studies on the effects of echinacea on people’s risk of catching a cold.
They concluded that echinaea purpurea it could reduce a person’s chances of catching a cold by about 58%, which is a very interesting fact.
They found that the herbal remedy with echinacea purpurea it also reduces the time a cold lasts by 1.4 days.
However, researchers at the Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine (December 2010 issue), that echinacea purpurea it has no significant impact on the common cold and only reduces the duration of symptoms by half a day at most.
More recently, a 2014 Cochrane Review concluded that “the products of echinacea purpurea have not been shown here to provide benefits for the treatment of colds.”
Some studies were conducted in the mid-1990s, including randomized trials. However, almost all of them were sponsored by echinacea manufacturers and marketers and were not considered by the scientific community to be of high quality. Most reported the benefits of the herbal remedy.
You can combine this medicinal plant with the Proven benefits of cinnamon against the cold.
How to take Echinacea purpurea
For treat the common cold, you can use extract from echinacea purpurea 5 ml twice a day for 10 days.
An extract of Echinacea has also been used, 20 drops in water every 2 hours on the first day of cold symptoms, followed three times a day for up to 10 days.
A tea with different species of echinacea three times a day at the first symptoms, and reduce to 1 cup per day for the next few days.
For preventing the common cold, use echinacea extract 0.9 ml three times a day (total dose: 2400 mg daily) for 4 months, with an increase of 0.9 ml five times a day (total dose: 4000 mg daily).