Echinacea belongs to the daisy family. There are 9 species of it, but only 3 are used herbally. It's commonly known as the purple coneflower. It has been widely used in natural medicine for over 400 years & widely used by the medical community. It lost most of it's usefulness after antibiotics caused a massive shift in the medical world.
Several of echinacea's chemical constituents include essential oils, Vit. C, inulin, flavanoids & polysaccharides (which trigger immune functions). Research has found that the above ground parts contains most of the plant's health benefits. The German government approved the plant's above ground parts for treatment in upper respiratory infections, colds, UTI's & slow healing wounds.
High in antioxidants such as cichoric acid & rosmarinic acid which help to defend against oxidative stress that can lead to disease.
Benefits of Echinacea:
*Boosts immune system
*Fights infections including malaria, typhoid & syphilis
*Supports upper respiratory issues such as TB, whooping cough, strep, croup, colds, diptheria
*Aids in mental health, taken in small doses
*Relieves pain -- headaches, toothache, sore throats & more
*Great for stomach & overall gut health
*Helps to treat skin issues
*Cancer fighter, according to a report from NIH
Now, according to research, echinacea works better once symptoms have appeared & it's not to be taken as a preventative. One should only take it up to 10 days, then take a break from it before continuing. Be careful of imitations as there are many out there, unfortunately. Apparently there are products out there that say they contain echinacea & they don't contain any!! The extracts you see everywhere are essentially tinctures, so don't let that fool you either. It's safe & well tolerated for short term use. Use caution against taking too much. Do not use it for seasonal allergies. Use extreme caution against injecting it!
As I've been saying all along, do not take it on a consistent basis. I was not aware though about all the imitations & trickery involved. Again, do your research, ask questions, be aware!!!