Echinacea is the name of a group of flowering plants in the daisy family. It is packed with plant compounds that act as antioxidants, including flavonoids, cichoric acid, and rosmarinic acid. These antioxidants defend our cells against oxidative stress which has been linked to chronic diseases.
This plant with pink or purple flowers is best known as a common ingredient in boosting the immune system and reducing symptoms of infections and other illnesses, including the common cold.
Echinacea To Boost Immunity
Echinacea may have a beneficial effect on our immune system. It is often used to prevent or treat the common cold as the plant may help our immune system combat infections and viruses, which could help us recover faster from illness (1,2,3).
Some research shows that the echinacea plant also contains chemicals that help our body create white blood cells. When our upper respiratory tract (nose, mouth, and throat) becomes infected, these white blood cells work within our immune system to fight the infection (4).
In a report by the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, echinacea’s effect on our immune system is strongly influenced by the level of its dose. If taken daily over a 10-day period, 10 milligrams of echinacea per one kilogram of body weight, appears to be effective as an immunity stimulant (5).
In addition to this, a meta-analysis study published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases showed that Echinacea can reduce the chances of catching a common cold by 58 percent and reduce the duration of the common cold by almost one-and-a-half days (6).
Furthermore, researchers also found that echinacea extracts were able to fight viral respiratory infections, including the flu, while also reducing inflammation and reducing the risk of developing bacterial complications (7).
Other Uses Of Echinacea
- May lower blood sugar levels
- May reduce feelings of anxiety
- Possess anti-inflammatory properties
- Functions as a mild laxative
- May help treat skin concerns
- May offer protection against cancer
- An effective pain reliever for snake bites, toothache, stomach ache, sore throats, and tonsilitis as well as for pains associated with headaches, measles, and gonorrhea.
Having a cup of echinacea tea is one way of enjoying its multiple benefits, Here’s a basic recipe for echinacea tea:
- 1/2 cup fresh or dried leaves, roots, flower (1/4 cup if using dried)
- 8 oz of water
- 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey
Simmer 8 oz of water in a small pot over medium heat and then add the fresh or dried Echinacea. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the tea into a mug and add honey. Enjoy!