Do It Your self Herbal Medicine

PART 2. THE HERBS

ECHINACEA

ECHINACEA PURPUREA

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Grow this lifesaver in advance of cold and flu season and you’ll be armed and ready to withstand viruses, bacteria, and anything else winter weather has to throw at you. This super herb is also a fantastic go-to for flawless, radiant skin, as well as treating skin issues or ailments like psoriasis, eczema, and bug bites. You’ll readily find it as a whole herb, premade tablets, or essential oils, but since it’s easy to grow, prep it in your kitchen to turn it into a tincture or tea.

Did You Know?

Native Americans looked to echinacea as their one-stop-shop for healing. It was used to prevent everything from colds and flu to snakebites, blood poisoning, and tooth infections. Early European explorers to the New World quickly caught on to the herb’s magic and began using it to fight infections. At one point in the nineteenth century, echinacea was said to be a “remedy for more ailments than any other plant.”

Why It’s Essential

More than just a cold fighter, this immune booster boasts a host of amazing nutrients and ingredients like caffeic acid, beta-carotene, vitamin C, linoleic acid, polysaccharides, echinacoside, tannins, and sesquiterpenes. Ask an herbalist and they’ll likely tell you this is the single most significant immunity booster you can have in your plant arsenal.

Herbal Power

MEDICINAL: Boosts immunity by increasing T cell production; repairs muscles and ligaments post-injury; heals cuts, bruises, burns, and wounds; eases pains and aches in muscles, throat, and head; features antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic properties.

COSMETIC: Hydrates skin, lessens wrinkles, and boosts collagen.

Application Methods

•Apply as a cream, salve, lotion, splash, poultice, compress, or tincture

•Drink as a tea

•Use in a bath

Precautions

Allergic reactions to echinacea aren’t uncommon. Stop using if you experience itchy eyes, ears, or throat or sinus congestion.

Other Names

Black Sampson Root

Kansas Snakeroot

Purple Coneflower

Locating & Growing

Echinacea grows just about anywhere under most conditions. In a perfect world, it loves full sun, warm weather, and rich soil, but it’s known to survive harsh situations including drought.

A CLOSER LOOK

ECHINACEA CAN BE TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING

As much of an immunity-boosting powerhouse that this herb is, it’s not recommended to take high doses for more than a couple of weeks. Because it supercharges your immune system, over time it can stress the same system it works to bolster in the short-term. People with autoimmune diseases, in particular, should always consult a naturopath before undertaking an echinacea regimen.