Echinacea is a flowering plant that has been used as medicine for centuries. It belongs to the daisy family, along with plants like sunflowers, chamomile, and chrysanthemums. Its active ingredients include flavonoids, chemicals that have many therapeutic effects on the body. Different parts of the plant, such as its leaves and roots, are traditionally used as a medicine to boost immunity and reduce inflammation. It has been a well-known remedy against cold and flu symptoms (1, 2).
How Does It Work For Cold?
Colds are caused by a virus. Though it is not dangerous, it can leave a person feeling awful. Its symptoms include a sore throat, nasal congestion, coughing, and aches and pains. Luckily, there are several home remedies that may offer some relief from these symptoms (3).
In a review of 82 studies, researchers found that the use of 2,400 milligrams of echinacea extract daily for four months may possibly help lower one’s risk of catching colds or at least reduce the severity and duration of symptoms if a person catches one (4).
In relation to these findings, a study published in 2015 showed that the use of echinacea, if started when the first symptoms appear, may modestly reduce the duration and severity of the common cold by half a day, at most (5).
Moreover, a review of over a dozen studies revealed that taking Echinacea could reduce the risk of catching a cold by around 58% and shorten the duration of a cold by 1.4 days. According to its lead author, Craig Coleman, echinacea does indeed have powerful cold prevention and cold treatment benefits (6).
How To Use Echinacea
Echinacea can be taken in a form of tea, 6-8 ounces, four times daily. It appears to be most effective when started as soon as symptoms are noticed, taken many times a day, and used for seven to 10 days (7).
How To Make Echinacea Tea
- 1 tablespoon dried echinacea (or 2 tablespoons of fresh echinacea)
- 10 ounces of water
- Honey (OPTIONAL)
Bring water to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium and add in the echinacea. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the loose flowers, roots, or leaves from the pot and pour them into a teacup. Enjoy plain or with honey.