Echinacea is a flowering plant that has been used for its medicinal properties in alternative medicine. It is commonly used as a home remedy for cold or flu, but it has plenty of other potential health benefits too.
Let us take a look at all the medicinal effects, recommended dosage and potential side effects of Echinacea.
What Is Echinacea?
Echinacea is a genus of flowers in the daisy family. The purple flowers within the Echinacea genus were used as a medicinal herb by Native Americans.
Also known as purple coneflower, Echinacea has become popular all over the world for its long list of health benefits.
It has been a part of traditional medicine for many years and recent studies have found that it shows promising results in the treatment and prevention of various diseases.
Benefits Of Echinacea
Echinacea has several compounds which have beneficial properties like alkamides, rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid.
Research shows that these compounds have been proven effective in fighting inflammation, strengthening the immune system and lowering blood sugar.
Here is a detailed analysis of all the potential health benefits of Echinacea:
May Strengthen Immune System
Echinacea is quite famous for its effect on our immunity. Studies have found that it can fortify our immune system, helping us fight off seasonal viruses and infections. It enhances the body’s immune response, ensuring faster recovery.
Echinacea could potentially reduce your chances of getting a cold by 50% and make you recover 1-2 days faster.
However, there is a lack of quality research regarding the use of Echinacea for the common cold. We need better studies to determine if it actually has merit as a treatment for the common cold.
Thus, while it does strengthen your immune system, it is not clear if it actually has any effect on the common cold.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to foreign pathogens and restoring damaged tissue. However, sometimes the inflammatory response is activated without cause and starts attacking healthy tissue. This causes other health issues.
Another study revealed that patients suffering from joint pain, swelling and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis benefitted from Echinacea supplements.
These patients did not benefit from regular NSAIDs but Echinacea supplements drastically reduced their symptoms.
Can Help Lower Blood Sugar
Increased blood sugar can lead to a host of diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other chronic illnesses.
A study found that Echinacea extract restricted the enzymes that digest carbohydrates. If you consume the extract, you could successfully limit the quantity of sugar entering your bloodstream.
It was also found that Echinacea extracts increase your sensitivity to insulin, which is also how many diabetes drugs work. This suggests that it could be helpful in lowering your body’s blood sugar.
Can Help With Anxiety
Anxiety is a very common problem among American adults. It has been on the rise due to several factors including the onset of the global pandemic.
Studies have found that the active compounds in Echinacea plants could be useful in treating anxiety.
Animal studies found that Echinacea was successful in reducing anxiety 3 out of 5 times. Additionally, it did not reduce activity like other common treatments for anxiety.
Research also shows that it has great potential for treating anxiety in humans too. However, more research is needed to determine the efficacy of Echinacea as a treatment for anxiety.
Could Reduce Skin Problems
Echinacea has also been found helpful in treating common skin problems. A test-tube study revealed that it stops the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
Skincare products with Echinacea extract were successful in improving the skin conditions of healthy adults between 25 to 40 years of age.
Eczema is a very difficult skin problem, especially for people suffering from multiple allergies. Creams containing Echinacea were found to reduce eczema flare-ups and helped improve skin health.
Could Reduce Risk Of Cancer
Cancer is caused by the unnecessary and uncontrolled multiplication of cells within the body. Test tube studies show that Echinacea could reduce the growth of cancer cells and cause the elimination of cancer cells too.
More research is needed to determine the exact cause, but it seems like the immunity-boosting properties of Echinacea make it effective in fighting cancer cells.
We need human research to successfully derive a cancer treatment drug from Echinacea.
Daily Recommended Dose Of Echinacea
Since there is not enough conclusive evidence for the use of Echinacea, there is no official recommended dosage for the consumption of Echinacea.
Echinacea products often do not have any Echinacea content, so make sure to buy from trusted sources.
Based on existing research, between 300 mg to 500 mg of powdered Echinacea or up to 10 ml of liquid Echinacea extract has a positive effect on the body’s immune system.
The recommended dosage on the supplement you bought is also a good benchmark. Keep in mind that there are studies that test the long-term effects of Echinacea, so it is best to limit its usage to short periods of time.
Side Effects Of Echinacea
Echinacea extracts have no reported serious side effects and are safe for short-term usage in adults.
Minor side effects were reported by a small percentage of people, which include itchiness, rashes, swelling and stomach pain.
Side effects were observed in people who suffered from flower allergies, so it is possible that the side effects were the result of an allergic reaction.
Since it has a positive effect on the immune system, it should be used with caution in people suffering from autoimmune disorders. Contact your healthcare provider before using Echinacea if you have any preexisting health conditions.
Echinacea For Health: Final Thoughts
Echinacea has been traditionally used for its medicinal properties for many years. It is a common home remedy for the treatment of minor diseases like the common cold or flu.
Research has found that it has many compounds that could be helpful in fighting many health conditions like cancer, inflammation and high blood sugar. It also has the potential to treat anxiety and common skin conditions.
We need more research to accurately determine the effectiveness of this miracle herb.