ECHINACEA Echinacea purpurea & E. augustifolia
Key Constituents: polysaccharides, glycoproteins, echinacoside, echinacin, polyacetylenes, betaine, caffeic acid glycosides, inulin, sesquiterpene esters, alkamides, volatile oils, flavonoids
Actions: alterative, immune stimulant, immunomodulant, analgesic, antibacterial, antiviral, sialagogue
Echinacea, or purple coneflower, is probably the most well known/frequently used herbal supplement in the United States. While there are nine different species grown throughout North America, two of them, E. purpurea and E. augustifolia are the most used and most widely studied. Herbalist argue fervently over which has the most medicinal value but ALL variants process the phytochemicals that improve the immune system.
Echinacea is an immune system stimulant and modulator that has been used by the plains people of North America for at least 400 years. The part of the plant that was most commonly used was the root and flower head, as an antimicrobial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory. The plant was called “elk root” after wounded and sick elk were observed eating the plant. It is unlikely that echinacea was used then to prevent colds but surely it is was used to treat certain symptoms of the common cold. Dozens of scientific studies have established that it is a potent immune system stimulant as well as effective against inflammation and viruses. One of its constituents improves the white blood cells' ability to speed to and tackle infections (viral, fungal and bacterial) which can lead to faster recovery time. When taking echinacea extract your mouth/tongue will probably experience a tingling sensation. Mega-doses should be avoided as it is possible that they could slow down, rather than rev up the immune system. It is also possible that one's body can "get used to it" if it's taken for too long, so it is often recommended that one abstain from use for a few days every week or two.
On a magickal/metaphysical level, echinacea is used in charms and spellwork to increase potency. Her vibrations as a flower essence are used to increase/maintain integrity, for maintaining a strong sense of Self, and for assisting with positive spiritual identity. She can be carried during trying times to boost inner strength.
Echinacea is an at-risk plant in the wild, so be sure to purchase organically cultivated or grow your own.
Can be found in: Echinacea tincture, Sore Throat Spray, Flower Essence Singles