There are nine species of echinacea that are known of, and Echinacea purpurea is considered to be the most effective and is also the most commonly used species.
Benefits of Echinacea
Research has suggested that echinacea improves immune system activity, and can help reduce inflammation as well as relieve pain, and also act as an antiviral.
The most common benefits of echinacea nowadays are for helping to reduce symptoms as well as the duration of the common cold and flu.
Echinacea is also often used for the treatment of various infections, such as bladder infections, tonsillitis, malaria, vaginal yeast infections, gum disease and athlete’s foot.
Less common benefits of echinacea are for the healing of wounds and skin problems, such as psoriasis, eczema, acne and boils.
A number of studies have indicated that individuals taking echinacea the moment they get a cold can significantly lessen the severity of the cold and also have less symptoms compared to those who don’t use echinacea.
One such study showed that people who had early cold and flu symptoms that drank a number of cups of echinacea tea each day for five days felt well quicker compared to people who drank tea having no echinacea.
There is also some evidence suggesting that taking ehinacea at the first sign of a cold can stop the cold from developing further. In a study of 120 people that took Echinacea purpurea or a placebo the moment they began showing signs and symptoms of having a cold, less people from the Echinacea purpurea group felt that their initial cold symptoms in fact developed into a more severe cold.
There is no scientific evidence that echinacea can prevent colds or flu.
Echinacea Dosage for Colds and Flu
To treat the common cold and the flu, the echinacea dosage depends on the form of the echinacea preparation.The echinacea dosage of an echinacea liquid such as Echinaforce is 20 to 25 drops to be taken every 2 hours during the 1st day of symptoms, after that 3 times every day for about 10 days.
- The echinacea dosage of an echinacea tea such as Echinacea Plus that consists of the leaves, stems and flowers of Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea as well as Echinacea purpurea root extract, is 5 to 6 cups of tea on the 1st day of symptoms and then 1 cup daily for the following 5 days.
- The echinacea dosage of a tablet such as Echinaforce that contains 6.78 mg of Echinacea purpurea crude extract is 2 tablets taken 3 times each day.
Echinacea Side Effects
In studies, echinacea side effects were most commonly of a gastrointestinal nature. Some other echinacea side effects that have been reported are dizziness, sore throat, headache, dry mouth, insomnia and fever.
Echinacea can also trigger allergies, especially in those who are allergic to marigolds, ragweed or daisies.
Echinacea could have an impact on the immune system which can worsen an auto-immune disorder.