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3 Surprising Benefits of Echinacea

January 27, 2014

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Used for more than 300 years by Native Americans to treat infections and pain, echinacea – a group of flowering plants known as coneflowers – gained widespread popularity as a traditional herbal remedy in the United States and Europe in the early 20th century.

While nine species of the echinacea plant exist, only three are widely used as an herbal supplement – Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea.

Everything from the leaves, flowers, and roots of these three species contain beneficial chemicals such as polysaccharides, essential oils, alkamides, and flavonoids, all of which have healing effects.
Here are just a few of the ways echinacea can help to remedy common ailments.

Treating the common cold. While echinacea can’t prevent cold or flu symptoms, some studies report that it may help reduce the length of a cold by boosting the body’s immune system and acting as a mild antibacterial.

Healing skin conditions. Echinacea has been shown to activate certain chemicals in the body that can decrease inflammation, which is a common side effect of psoriasis and eczema – two chronic disorders that produce raised or itchy lesions on the surface of the skin.

Containing yeast infections. This tidbit isn’t only for the ladies out there, because yeast infections affect more than just the vagina; they can also develop in others areas including your mouth or blood. The good news is that the chemicals in echinacea appear to attack yeast, candida, and other fungi in the body.

While there are no food sources containing echinacea, it can be found in many forms as an over-the-counter supplement. The herbal plant can be taken as a liquid extract, capsule, tablet, dried root tea, and as an ointment. So much to choose from!

How has echinacea helped you heal your body?