What it does… echinacea
What is it?
A native American plant from the daisy family, the flowers and roots of which contain anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
What does it do?
Fights off colds: A study by Cardiff University Common Cold Centre, involving 750 people, showed that taking three doses of echinacea tincture daily for four months reduced the number of colds participants contracted, as well as their duration. The herb works by stimulating the body’s white blood cell production.
Reduces inflammation: The herb’s essential oils have an anti-inflammatory effect, according to a Chinese study. In cases of gastritis, the herb reduced inflammation in the stomach lining.
Keeps thrush at bay: Taking echinacea appears to lower recurrence rates of this common infection. It contains anti-fungal constituents that may help fight yeast and other fungi directly.
Eases skin infections: The herb is often used to treat skin problems such as boils, ulcers, abscesses, wounds and burns. Its anti-inflammatory effect is also used for eczema and psoriasis.
When do I need it?
Throughout the winter: some people take a daily dose throughout the cold and flu season. In addition, take if you are experiencing any of the aforementioned conditions.
How do I get it?
Take: Echninacea is available in teas, tinctures, pills and capsules. However, the tincture is thought to be the best absorbed and fastest working. It’s also available as a spray for sore throats, and as creams and lotions for skin problems.
Be careful if…
Avoid echinachea if you are allergic to marigolds, ragweed or any other plants, and if taking immunosuppressive drugs.