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Seasonal Medicine

Echinacea

Echinacea purpurea

 

A tried and true botanical when it come to the immune system, Echinacea is one of my most used herbals during the fall and winter months. A hearty root harvested in fall, Echinacea is a perfect herb to work with and take (when needed) as we enter the seasons ahead.

Echinacea For An Immune Boost

Echinacea is a well-known botanical that is often used to help boost the immune system at the first signs of illness (or shortly after being exposed before getting sick). It helps to stimulate immune activity, which is why we use it early on, and not once we are already sick (once we are sick, our immune system is already active). I take echinacea for a day or two (1-2 times a day if I feel myself coming down with something, and then stop using it. It's generally recommended not to take echinacea for more than 3 days.

Echinacea also has an analgesic quality to it, making it one of my favorites for times when I can feel myself getting sick, particularly with a sore throat. Expert tip: drop your echinacea extract directly on your throat for an added dose of numbing along with your immune boost.

 

 

Safety Notes + Contraindications To

Consider w/Echinacea

It is not recommended to take it for more than 3 days in a row, unless you are working with an herbalist on a specific protocol. Echinacea is not considered a "child herb", so be sure to do your research on dosing and child-friendly herbs when using with your family. This page is a good resource for using herbs with kids and provides some good alternatives for cold and flu season. I would also avoid using echinacea (unless working with an herbalist) if you have an autoimmune condition.

 

 

Echinacea Medicine Making / Roots, Flowers,

and Double Extractions
While both the flowers and roots of this heart medicinal can be used for immune support, the roots contain a higher concentration of phytochemicals, making them the preferred part of the plant when making medicine. Echinacea also strongly benefits from being double extracted (extracted in both alcohol and water), making it a slightly more complex plant to make medicine with. The polysaccharides in echinacea that make it supportive to the immune system are better extracted in water, so this is an important step when using it for the immune system. If you are purchasing echinacea extract, my favorite type to get (and make) is one that contains a double extraction of the roots, and an alcohol extraction of the flowers as well.

Winter Apothecary Must Haves / Echinacea

Echinacea is definitely a winter/fall apothecary must have in my own home! Want to learn more winter apothecary must-haves? Sign up for the newsletter to get my free seasonal download on winter apothecary herbals that I always stock my pantry with at home.

 


 

 

Note: The information on this site has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and is for educational, historical, and research purposes, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this site should not be used as medical advice. If you have a medical concern please seek out a qualified healthcare professional, and always consult your physician before adding herbal supplements into your diet, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or on medication.

 

East Bay Herbals does not promote wildcrafting for your medicinal plant needs. Natural populations of plants are vital to the ecosystems that they are a part of and should be left alone for mother nature to care for. We encourage you to purchase fresh plants from a trusted herb retailer such as The Sonoma County Herb Exchange or your local farmer's market or to experiment with growing your own.


 

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