Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea pallida
Echinacea has a long history of use in wound, infection, and cold care remedies. If you start taking it at the first sign of a cold or the flu, you will find that it reduces the duration and intensity of symptoms, including coughing, fever, and sore throat. Thanks to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, echinacea is useful for treating a variety of ailments.
Parts Used: Roots
Precautions: Echinacea stimulates the immune system and can cause adverse reactions with pharmaceuticals used in immune system suppression therapy. Do not use echinacea if you have a chronic infection such as tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS, or if you have an autoimmune disease such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Echinacea causes allergy symptoms in some people who are allergic to ragweed; stop taking it if it has an adverse effect on you.
Identifying/Growing: Also known as purple coneflower, echinacea features vibrant yellow, orange, and red tones in the center of its daisy-like blooms. Although echinacea grows wild in prairies across North America, it has been overharvested and should be cultivated at home rather than wildcrafted. Echinacea is very easy to grow in your
garden, and besides offering wonderful medicinal benefits, it attracts bees and butterflies. This beautiful herb grows to a height of about 4 feet. It will self-sow if allowed to go to seed, and its roots will send up new shoots each year, too. Just provide the plants with a sunny patch of limey, well-drained soil, and it will reward you with beauty and inexpensive remedies.