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The Benefits of Echinacea

Apr 10, 2010

Echinacea, a native North American plant, is something that horticultural experts are often very familiar with. Its brightly colored and attractive flowers dot the landscapes of large portions of the continent. They also show up in lots of home gardens and commercial landscaping installations, as well as some authentic horticultural restoration projects.

Benefits of Echinacea

Echinacea has been known to have some restorative qualities and medicinal uses. Today, the effectiveness of echinacea is somewhat debated, but modern research has shown the potential for echinacea as a tool for fighting viruses and keeping the immune system healthy.

Echinacea is most commonly used to ward off the common cold. It can be used to treat a range of illnesses, such as fever, cold, flu or viral illnesses, as well as some kinds of infections. Researchers say that echinacea can help boost the immune system by fighting off virus microbes. It is also said to have anti-inflammatory properties. Some herbalists and others call echinacea a “blood purifier” and refer to phagocytes, natural elements that the body develops to combat viral microbes. Experts claim that echinacea can help the body produce these phagocytes.

Although some studies have not found that echinacea is effective in treating colds and viruses, other studies have found that taking echinacea supplements can cut down the risk of contracting a cold by nearly 50% in some individuals. That makes echinacea a popular herbal remedy, even though it’s hard to say how effective it is in any given case. Trials at universities and other research centers continue to look at how the herb might aid the body in its natural capacity to shrug off some of the common seasonal viruses that currently threaten the global community.

Echinacea and Goldenseal

Echinacea is often taken together with goldenseal. This herbal remedy can help fight the inflammatory and congestive elements of the common cold by soothing conditions in the inner membranes of the nose and throat. It also has some anti-inflammatory and immune boosting abilities, according to researchers. Lots of herbal remedy providers package echinacea together with goldenseal for a double punch against cold and flu viruses.

Potential Risks of Echinacea

Potential side effects for echinacea range from minor issues like dizziness to larger problems. Echinacea can trigger asthma attacks in individuals with respiratory conditions. Doctors often warn against using herbal supplements like echinacea for those who are already on a lot of medications, as some kinds of drug interactions can apply. Before starting on a regimen of echinacea or some other herbal home remedy, it’s a good idea to have an in-depth discussion with your local family doctor about the risks and benefits of echinacea or another herbal supplement product. With the right care and attention to detail, echinacea could be worth looking at as a helper for fighting off the kinds of viruses that are creating epidemics in today’s population during each flu season.

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