Getting Sick? The Benefits of Echinacea

The one thing I almost always reach for when I feel I am coming down with a bug is my bottle of Goldenseal Echinacea.  This amazing herb from Mother Nature comes from the purple cornflower.  Now I have had these cornflowers growing in my yard for years, but never thought that the cornflower was actually Echinacea!

Echinacea helps to strengthen the immune system.  Its is incredibly effective when used at the onset of a cold, flu or other infection.  It promotes white blood cell production.  These white blood cells in turn attack bacteria and viruses that enter the body in order to prevent illness or infection.  It can also reduce the amount of time you are sick if you take it after the illness has already set in.

Those with compromised immune systems, such as HIV or AIDS may find some benefit in strengthening their immune system but I would always check with your doctor first, as I am certainly NOT one of those. Also you should beware that those with HIV and AIDS can develop strange allergic reactions to foods, medications or supplements because the immune system is compromised.  As with all medication and herbal supplements you should always take them as they were prescribed or suggested on the label.

On a superficial level, Echinacea in creams and ointments directly applied to the skin have been shown to help in treating psoriasis and eczema. Some other benefits of Echinacea in VARIOUS forms have been reported in treating….

  • Common Cold
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Flu
  • Tonsillitis
  • Genital Herpes
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Strep throat
  • Malaria
  • Syphilis
  • Typhoid
  • Hay fever
  • Gum disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • diphtheria
  • Skin wounds
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Cancer
  • Heartburn
  • Hemorrhoids

Are there side effects of taking this herb?

As with most everything yes there can be some side effects but only really only for those that suffer from seasonal allergies. Those suffering with allergies to ragweed, marigolds, chrysanthemums or daisies may also experience allergic reactions to Echinacea (such as skin rashes).  A more common side effect is  minor gastrointestinal problems, as well as nausea or dizziness.  If you notice any of these symptoms or are unsure if you should use this herb, it is suggested that you consult your doctor first.  There is one supplement that I take at the first sign of getting a cold.  It is an all natural supplement called Immune.  It not only contains golden echinacea, but it contains another blend of herbs that will scare away your cold.

It has been my experience, that unless the doctor is experienced in the herbal world, they may just poo poo the idea of using a herb at all.  I would then just try the Echinacea first before running to fill that prescription.  But then again that’s me.

Feel Better!

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