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History of Echinacea:

Echinacea was the Plains Indians’ primary medicine. They applied root poultices to all manner of wounds, such as insect bites and stings, and even snakebites. They used Echinacea mouthwash for toothaches and hurting gums, and drank Echinacea tea to treat colds, smallpox, measles, mumps, and arthritis. This herb was known in U.S. history as the original “Snake Oil” because in 1870 a patent-medicine purveyor, Dr. H.C.F. Meyer of Pawnee City, Nebraska, used it in his Meyer’s Blood Purifier and promoted the remedy as “an absolute cure” for rattlesnake bite, blood poisoning, and a host of other ills. Although Echinacea has never been shown to cure rattlesnake bite, European studies from the 1950s through the 1980s agree it has remarkable healing properties.

Common Use:

Contemporary herbalists use Echinacea as a botanical antibiotic and immune system stimulant for boils, colds and flu, bladder infections, tonsillitis, and other infectious diseases.

Dosage and Administration:

  • Preparation, dosage and appropriate method of intake are still in debate; however there are some general guidelines.

  • Herbal publications typically state that the maximum adult daily dose is 6 to 9 ml of expressed, fresh juice, 1.5 to 7.5 ml of tincture, or 2 to 5 g of dried root.

  • The usual dose for the solid, (Dry powdered) extract is: Adults 6.5:1 or 3.5% echinacoside at 150 to 300 mg 3x/day.

  • Children: No studies to date use with extreme care, should not be given to children younger than 2 years old. Minimal dosage should be given to children 2 years and older.

  • Daily intake should be restricted to what is deemed necessary. However, for the maintenance of a healthy immune system, Echinacea is most wisely used periodically--a few weeks on, and a few weeks off, throughout the year.

How It Works

The herb fights infection several ways. It contains a natural antibiotic (echinacoside), which is comparable to penicillin in that it has broad-spectrum activity. It also contains Echinacea that protects the body’s tissues from attack by microorganisms. Echinacea also boosts the macrophages ability to destroy germs. It also increases the production of infection-fighting T-lymphocytes up to 30 percent more than other immune-boosting drugs.

Safety Factor

The medical literature contains no reports of Echinacea toxicity. In general, Echinacea is one of the safest medicines, herbal or otherwise. Individuals with Leucosis, collaginosis, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, or diabetes mellitus are cautioned against taking this herb. If Echinacea causes minor discomforts, such as stomach upset or diarrhea, use less or stop using it. Let your doctor know if you experience any unpleasant effects, or if the symptoms for which the herb is being used do not improve.

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significantly in two weeks.

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