Echinacea: Contraindications, Benefits, Uses And Properties

Echinacea is a herbaceous plant of the Asteraceae family, like chamomile (chamomilla) and artemisia with large flowers, with petals that can be pink, white or purple and their center is raised and conical in shape. It begins its flowering at the beginning of summer, extending until the beginning of the autumn season.

Echinacea is characterized by containing substances such as: alkylamides, polysaccharides, acids, alcohols, betaine, alkaloids, flavonoids, mineral tannins.

Origins of echinacea, where can we find it?

This plant is native to North America. It occupies areas ranging from the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico to the Rocky Mountains, where it grows spontaneously. It is cultivated as a garden plant in many regions of North America and Europe. According to history it was used by the Sioux North American indigenous people.

Types of echinacea

There are Echinacea angustifolia (common in the United States and in greater demand and use in medicinal preparations), and Echinacea purpura (more common in Europe). Both species are used as a medicinal plant, under different types of preparations.

Echinacea properties

This plant has antimicrobial properties , and it also works as an excellent adjunct to the functions of the immune system .

It is considered a natural antibiotic due to its ability to stimulate the immune system through the production of white blood cells, which constitute the body’s immunological defense par excellence through the active principles present in its components (equinacin, caffeic acid and chicoric acid). .

In the same way, various investigations have revealed that echinacea stimulates the production of interferon , a protein responsible for neutralizing the action of viruses. In that sense, it can be considered; to some extent, to echinacea as an antiviral agent.

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Medicinal uses of echinacea

Echinacea is used as a disinfectant and bactericide in the treatment of transmitted diseases, wounds, mouth ulcers, angina and colds; in the 19th century it was included as a medicinal plant in the western pharmacopoeia.

Forms of use and consumption

We can consume it as an infusion; However, due to the current dynamics, it is convenient to consume it through tablets, capsules and tinctures that allow a greater use of the healing properties of this plant.

Taking advantage of the antiviral and antimicrobial properties of echinacea

Due to its antiviral and antimicrobial properties, echinacea can be used in the prevention and cure of diseases of the respiratory system, making its use even more effective in vulnerable people such as school-age children, the elderly, people with a deficiency in the immune system and those dedicated caring for the sick.

Echinacea in diseases of the respiratory system

In treating colds and flu , echinacea solutions or preparations relieve harmful cold and flu symptoms. In cases where the consumption of echinacea is from a commercial product, it is recommended to take the supplement following the instructions on the package and under the patient’s own responsibility.

Treatment for throat pain and infections

The use of echinacea considerably reduces the production of pus, eliminating the bacteria that cause irritation of the pharynx that causes burning and difficulty in swallowing.

In this particular, the consumption of echinacea is recommended under the dose recommended by the treating physician, for the following cases:

  • Bronchitis: reduces bronchial inflammation.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Echinacea is used as a tincture according to the directions on the package.
  • Sinusitis: It acts on the sinuses, reducing inflammation and relieving pain.
  • Body infections and states of body weakness: The stimulating action on the immune system strengthens the defenses, and consequently reduces the recurrence of diseases that act on the weakened immune system. Among these diseases we can distinguish:
  • Herpes: Inert virus that is activated when we encounter a depressed immune system, using echinacea we strengthen this system avoiding the appearance or recurrence of this condition.
  • Infections of the vagina: As a complement to treatment with conventional antibiotics in pathologies of infectious origin associated with vaginal microbial infections caused by fungus.
  • Urinary system infections: In conditions such as cystitis urethritis, the consumption of echinacea can combat these diseases of the urinary system.
  • Ear infections: To combat otitis. Taken in the form of an infusion prepared with a tablespoon of the dried leaves of echinacea per cup of water or in the form of a supplement.
  • Stye: Condition produced by a bacteria lodged in the hair follicle of an eyelash, causing itching and inflation of the eyelid, to alleviate this discomfort we use echinacea in infusion or in the form of a supplement.
  • Venereal diseases: Its antimicrobial properties can help to stimulate the immune system to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, always using it as a complement to other preventive measures, it has been used as a complement to antibiotics in the treatment of syphilis or gonorrhea, use will be in accordance with the instructions of the treating physician.
  • Body weakness: Promotes recovery after a surgical process, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or spring asthenia.
    Echinacea for cancer: It serves to increase the defenses weakened by the use of cancer treatments (chemotherapy, radiotherapy), preventing the development of infections in the body.

Other uses

  • Digestive system: An infusion of echinacea (one tablespoon of dried leaf per cup of water) stimulates the appetite, increases salivary secretion, helping digestion in lazy stomachs and being effective in patients suffering from dry mouth.
  • Inflammation of the muscles and tendons: Echinacea is a valuable resource to reduce inflammation of the muscles and tendons affected by the action of repetitive movements and stretching.

External use

  • The direct application of the essential oil extracted from the plant on skin lesions works by promoting healing, avoiding possible infections.
  • Its application is useful in cases such as:
    • Wounds, cuts, boils, acne, ulcers, and burns.
    • Ulcers in the mouth, Gincivitis, Anginas and Pharyngitis.

Possible disadvantages of consuming echinacea

No cases of poisoning from the use of echinacea have been detected; However, if there is any intoxication or allergic reaction, it is recommended to suspend its use or consumption immediately.

Can you take echinacea while pregnant or breastfeeding?

In case of pregnancy or during lactation, the use of echinacea is not recommended without the supervision of the treating physician.

Because it has not been proven if it produces any harmful effect on the future baby.

People with the following autoimmune diseases

  • In case of people with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, a doctor should be consulted.
  • In the case of people with HIV its use is not recommended.
  • It should not be given in people with allergies to daisies or other species of the compound family.

Side effects of echinacea

Even though side effects of echinacea have not been determined , as with any herbal treatment, precautions should be taken and consulted with the treating physician before consuming them to avoid major problems.

When combined with beverages or foods that contain caffeine, echinacea can increase its stimulating effect .

Oral administration of echinacea in liquid form can cause tingling of the lips and mouth, with numbness.

Echinacea is a wonderful natural substance that, when used responsibly, can bring us various health benefits.

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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