Echinacea is a small, robust ornamental plant, up to one meter tall, with a single stem. The leaves are lanceolate and depending on the variety has a slight down or toothed or even naked (glabrous). The stem is dominated by an inflorescence with flowers on the periphery with tabs of purple, pink and white which bloom from July to September.
It comes to us from North and Central America and more precisely from Ohio and these great prairies and plains. It is cultivated in Europe for its temperate climate, as it prefers sunshine and rich, drained or sandy soils. Only cultivated echinacea is used medicinally, as it is growing in the wild. Echinacea flowers are picked in the spring while its root (two or three years old) is harvested in the fall and dries in the shade.
Echinacea its composition
The plant is made up of polysaccharides and essential oils, alkylamides and polyacetylenes, flavonoids including esters of caffeic acid, alcamides, echinolone and betaine.
Echinacea and its medicinal properties
Echinacea is primarily an immunostimulant (stimulant of the immune system) and an immunomodulator (regulates reactions of the immune system). These two properties are certified by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the German Commission E, which recognizes the importance and effectiveness in all viral winter conditions.
This plant is recommended in the prevention and treatment of viral infections (such as influenza and colds) and all winter attacks. It is essential for treating colds (reduction in duration and complications to come) and chronic ailments especially those which follow viruses, respiratory ailments (sinusitis and laryngitis) and relieves tonsillitis, sore throats and ear infections.
The virtues of echinacea allow a marked reduction in the side effects (leukopenia, decrease in the number of leukocytes) which affect people undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Thanks to the stimulation of the immune system, echinacea is also used for urinary tract infections.
Topically, it promotes healing of wounds and skin inflammation, chronic ulcers and also treats herpes, also recommended by WHO and ESCOP.
Echinacea, considered an ornamental plant, is used to embellish everyone's gardens. Certain varieties of this plant are used to restore the meadows for an embellishment of these places. It finds its utility in the supply of fodder stocks for animals.