Echinacea is used worldwide to help build up and strengthen people's immune system
Over the past 40 years or so, echinacea has become one of the most popular natural remedies and herbal supplements in the western world.
Obviously many people find it to be very effective and because of this, its popularity has grown.
It grows mainly in the U.S. and Southern Canada, where it seems to thrive in many dry areas, especially because it can survive for quite a while with little rainfall.
It was regularly used by native American Indians to heal wounds and snake bites etc., as well as an all round general health tonic. This history of usage goes back many hundreds of years.
How it is commonly used
It has come to be associated with people trying to overcome a cold of a bout of flu, and whilst it may have some immediate benefit then, it seems it is even better utilised in a preventative capacity. Perhaps as soon as you become aware that you are feeling a little rundown.
The plant has long been regarded as a very effective booster to the immune system. Like many herbs, it works at a cellular level. It has numerous natural chemicals which can help strengthen the key defence mechanisms in the body.
How else can you take it?
It can be used all year round and it is particularly effective in the colder months.
By taking echinacea quite regularly, or at the first signs of cold weather caused symptoms, you can reduce the chances of coming down with something.
However, it is not recommended that you take high quantities every day for long periods. At lower levels a few capsules per day, apparently this is not applicable. We usually suggest that a person cycles through different herbs when supplementing their diet. This helps avoid the body getting used to one in particular or consuming too much.
(So in practice this may mean every 4 to 6 weeks using an alternative, such as goldenseal or astragalus etc. But at low levels this can be avoided).
What does it do and how?
Echinacea increases the levels of a chemical called properdin in the body which activates part of the immune system responsible for increasing the defence mechanisms against bacteria and viruses.
There are numerous naturally occurring chemicals in high quality echinacea and some of them are antimicrobial. It is important that the right, gentle manufacturing processes are carried out to ensure all these wonderful beneficial chemicals are retained. Otherwise these can be destroyed and this is why we pay great attention to this aspect of all of our products.
Which part of the plant is used?
The plant is a very versatile one, and it is possible to get benefit from the flower petals, the leaves and even the stem.
But we believe that the root carries the most important parts of this plant and this is why we only use the root in our formulae.
For this herb, we regard products that contain leaves or flowers as depriving you of the best possibility of benefit.
The recommended amount to take is 2 to 4 capsules a day, or 15 drops of tincture 3 times a day.
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