Herbal Selection: Echinacea
Author: Daibhaid A. O'Broder-Hicks
American Cone Flower, Black Samson, Black Susans, Cock-Up-Hat,Comb Flower, Cone Flower, Echinacea Care Liquid, Hedgehog, IndianHead, Kansas Snake Root, Missouri Snake Root, Narrow-LeavedPurple Cone Flower, Purple Cone Flower, Purple Kansas Cone Flower,Red Sunflower, Scurvy Root, Snake-Root
Common trade names:
Cone flower extract, Echinacea, Echinacea Augustifolia Herb,Echinacea Fresh Freeze-Dried, Echinacea Glycerite, Echinacea Herb,Echinacea Herbal Comfort Lozenges, Echinacea Purpurea.
Capsules: 125 mg, 355 mg (85mg herbal extract powder), 500 mg
Echinacea based dietary supplements are obtained from the freeze-dried rhizomes and roots of Echinacea augustifolio
or E. pallida
, and from the fresh juice of the roots oraboveground parts of the E. purpurea.
The herb Echinacea contains alkylamides, caffeic acids, polysaccharides, essential oils, and other constituents,including polyacetylene flavonoids and glycoproteins. The plant also contains three classes of compounds thatexhibit activity, which has been classified as being nonspecific immunostimulatory in their mannerisms. Thesecompounds are alkylamides, chicoric acids and related glycosides, and high molecular-weight polysaccharides.
This herb is probably the most substantially graced herb in theline of immunostimulatory and anti-inflammatory Polysaccharidebased herbs that we have in as far as being available. The mostpotent immune-enhancing property is the proponent inulin. Foundin the E. augustifolio
root it weights in at a high concentration of5.9 percent of the total of the herb. Inulin also consists of somefructose units.
The leaves and stems contain a great number of additionalflavonoids, Rutoside being the most abundant. Also the herb hasan energizing effect given off due to the high amounts of caffeicacids within the herb.
Historically, Native Americans have been known to use this herbextensively. In point of fact, American Indians use Echinaceamore than any other plant in the treatment of illness. The root is
used primarily in the treatment of infections, toothache, joint pain, and is an antidote for snakebites (SpecificallyRattlesnakes).
In 1909 The Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry began a long research period on the herb. Ironically, it wasdeemed to be unworthy of extensive research, however it remained on the books of the National Formulary of theUnited States until 1950.
The fresh pressed juice of E. Purpurea
, as well as the polysaccharide components of the Echinacea species,promotes tissue regeneration and has been shown to reduce inflammation. Echinacea has also been shown to exertmild, direct, cortisone-like effect and excretes adrenal cortex hormones.
The immune system is the first and foremost target of this herb. It will help stimulate the repairs in this area andstrengthen it as well. It has been shown to have prominent results in studies regarding the infections of and problemsresulting from cancers. It is also possible, though not specifically pointed out that this herb can be a useful additionto a treatment course for those who are HIV+. This has yet to be determined, however, with the benefits to theimmuno-system it stands to reason that it could have direct positive effects in the building up of this area.
Due to the positive effects, Echinacea has on the immuno system; it would be highly recommended that anyindividual who suffers from even occasional colds and infectious problems of this nature, to take this herb as aregular treatment. This herb can be found now, in lozenge, capsule and tea formulations.
Capsules containing the powdered herb
: equivalent to 900 mg to 1-g three times daily; the doses can vary.
: 0.75 to 1.5 ml (15 to 30 drops) given 2 to 5 times daily.
: two teaspoons of coarsely powdered herb simmered in 1 c. of boiling water for 10 minutes avoid this method ofadministration because some active compounds are water-insoluble.
Adverse reactions are uncommon. Allergies may occur in-patients allergic to plants belonging to the daisy family.
Studies using large doses and animals demonstrated no toxic effects.
Contraindications and precautions:
Contraindicated in-patients with severe illnesses including HIV infection (including AIDS), collagen disease,glucosis, multiple sclerosis, and tuberculosis or other autoimmune diseases. Avoid use of the herb in pregnant orbreast feeding patients; effects are unknown.
• Combest, W.L. & Nemecz, G. "Echinacea," US Pharmacist
October: 126-32, 1997.
• Jacobson, M. "The Structure of Echinacein, the Insecticidal Component of American Coneflower Roots," J
• Lersch, C., et al. "Stimulation of the Immune Response in Outpatients with Hepatocellular Carcinomas by
Low Doses of Cyclophosphamide (LDCY), Echinacea purpurea
Extracts (Echinacein), andThymostimulin," _Arch Gescwulstforsch 60:379-83, 1990.
• Lersch, C., et al. "Nonspecific Immunostimulation with Low Doses of Cyclophosphamide (LDCY),
Thymostimulin, and E. purpurea
Extract (Echinacein) in Patients with Far Advanced Colorectal Cancers.
Preliminary Results," Cancer Invest
• Fetrow, Charles W. PharmD & Juan, Avila R. PharmD, Complimentary and Alternative Medicines
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