Echinacea

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Echinacea Orange Flavor, 1 fl oz, From Childlife

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Garlic, Echinacea Goldenseal, 120 Tablets, From Futurebiotics

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Echinacea Root Organic Alcohol, 2 oz, From Nature's Answer

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Echinamide Echinacea 400 mg & Goldenseal 50 mg, 90 Capsules, From Natural Factors

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Echinacea Root & Herb, 100 Capsules, From Nature's Herbs

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Echinacea Purpurea Root, 400 mg, 250 Capsules, From Now Foods

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Echinacea Standardized Extract, 125 mg, 60 Vcaps, From Now Foods

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Elderberry, Zinc, & Echinacea Syrup, 4 oz, From NOW

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Olive Leaf Extract 500 mg with Echinacea, Vegetarian 100 Vegetable Capsules, From NOW Foods

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Echinacea Herb, 100 Capsules, From Nature's Way

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Echinacea Astragalus & Reishi, 400 mg, 100 Capsules, From Nature’s Way

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Echinacea Complex, 450 mg, 180 Capsules, From Nature's Way

Reg. Price: $24.49

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Echinacea & Ester-C, 100 Capsules, From Nature’s Way

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Echinacea Goldenseal, 450 mg, 180 Capsules, From Nature’s Way

Reg. Price: $27.49

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Echinacea Purpurea Herb, 400 mg, 180 Capsules, From Nature's Way

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Echinacea Goldenseal, 60 Veggie Caps, From Paradise Herbs

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Once Daily Echinacea, 30 Vcaps, From Paradise Herbs

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Echinacea Zinc, Natural Cherry Flavor, 5 mg, 15 Lozenges, From Zand

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Echinaforce Echinacea Extract, 250 mg, 120 Tablets, From Bioforce A Vogel

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Garlic Echinacea Goldenseal Plus, 60 Tablets, From Futurebiotics

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Echinacea/Goldenseal Supreme, 2 Oz, From Gaia Herbs

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Echinacea Goldenseal Supreme Liquid Phyto Capsules, 60 VCapsules, From Gaia Herb

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Echinacea/Red Root Supreme, 1 Oz, From Gaia Herbs

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Echinacea Goldenseal Propolis Throat Spray, 1 Oz, From Gaia Herbs

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Echinacea Supreme Liquid Phyto Capsules, 60 VCapsules, From Gaia Herbs

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Echinacea Root Alcohol Free Extract, 2 fl oz, From Nature's Answer

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Children's Echinacea with Zinc, 4 oz, From Natra-Bio

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Rhino Chewy C Plus Echinacea, 60 Gummy Bears, From Nutrition Now

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Echinacea Extract, 2 fl oz (60 ml), From Now Foods

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Echinaforce, 3.40 fl oz, From A Vogel

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Esberitox, 200 Chewable Tablets, From Enzymatic Therapy

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Echinamide Fresh Herb Extract, 1.7 oz., From Natural Factors

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Echinamide Extra Strength Fresh Extract, 60 Softgels, From Natural Factors

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Echinaforce Junior, 90 Tablets, Bioforce USA/A.Vogel

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Echinacea Extract Liquid, 4 oz, Herb Pharm

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Echinacea Glycerite Liquid, 4 oz, Herb Pharm

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Echinacea/Astragalus Blend Alcohol-Free 1 oz from Herbs For Kids

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Sweet Echinacea Alcohol-Free 1 oz from Herbs For Kids

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Echinamide Clinical Strength Liquid 1.7 oz , Natural Factors

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Echinamide Alcohol-Free Berry Liquid 1 oz , Natural Factors

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Echinamide Fresh Herb Extract Liquid 1 oz , Natural Factors

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Echinacea Certified Organic 100 vegicaps from Nature's Way

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Echinacea Extract Standardized 60 caps from Nature's Way

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Echinacea Root Complex, 100 Capsules, Nature's Way

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Echinacea Root 400 mg, 100 Capsules, NOW Foods

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Echinacea 400mg, 100 Capsules, Olympian Labs

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Organic Echinacea Elder Tea 16 bags, Traditional Medicinals Teas

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Echinacea

Echinacea

Echinacea is a native perennial growing from the prairie states northward to Pennsylvania, but also occurs in the cooler northern regions of some southern states as well. The stout, bristly stems bear hairy, linear-lanceolate leaves, tapering at both ends. Each of the distinctive rich purple flowers features 12-20 large, spreading, dull-purple rays and a conical disk made up of numerous tubular florets that are in bloom from June -October. A weaker species (E. purpurea) is often substituted for E. augustifolia whenever the latter becomes scarce or too expensive for the herb industry's use.

Echinacea has a faint aromatic smell with a nice sweetish taste, leaving a tingling sensation in the mouth not unlike that of aconite or monkshood, but without the latter's lasting numbness or dangerous poison. Tasting Echinacea powder is one way of determining just how fresh or old it might be.

Echinacea's ability to enhance the immune system is well documented. Echinacea has an antibiotic and interferon-like antiviral action, an antifungal effect and an anti-allergenic action. Echinacea has also been shown to have anti-tumour activity. Echinacea was used by the Native Americans for healing wounds and treating snake bites, infected conditions, sore throats and burns. Today Echinacea can be used as a blood cleansing remedy for skin problems such as boils and abscesses, allergies such as eczema and urticaria, infections such as tonsilitis, colds, flu, chest infections, and viral diseases such as glandular fever, as well as candidiasis and post-viral fatigue syndrome. Its beneficial effect in treatment of HIV and AIDS is currently being researched.

Echinacea has a stimulating effect on the circulation, particularly when taken in hot infusion, and by stimulating sweating it helps bring down fevers while enhancing our defenses to shake off whichever infection has caused fever in the first place. The anti-inflammatory effect of Echinacea can be put to good effect in treatment of arthritis and gout and for any inflammatory condition of the reproductive system, such as pelvic inflammatory disease. Because of its immune-enhancing properties, Echinacea should be thought of at the first signs of infection to clear it quickly, and also for those whose immune systems are run down and deficient and who are prone to one infection after another.

Most of the scientific and clinical studies on Echinacea have been carried out in Germany, primarily with dosage forms prepared from the fresh over ground portion of E. purpurea that are intended to be administered by injection or applied locally. Injectable preparations, however, are not available in the United States. There remains considerable controversy as to the relative effectiveness of Echinacea following oral administration. Echinacea is most readily available in liquid form, specifically as a hydroalcoholic extract. Indeed, it has been suggested that such preparations are effective because Echinacea stimulates lymphatic tissue in the mouth, thereby initiating an immune response. Assuming that to be the case, powdered Echinacea administered orally in the form of capsules would probably be less active.

Of the various activities attributed to Echinacea, the one that is probably best substantiated is its immune-stimulant effect. This is said to be brought about by three different mechanisms: stimulating phagocytosis, increasing respiratory activity, and causing increased mobility of the leukocytes. The exact identity of the principles responsible for this action remains unknown. Without question, high-molecular-weight polysaccharides are effective, but their stimulation of phagocytosis is apparently enhanced by components of the alkamide fraction (mainly isobutylamides), by glycoproteins, and by cichoric acid.

The literature on Echinacea has become so vast and the hyperbole of its advocates so extensive that it has become difficult to separate what we know about it with certainty from what may be true. Oral consumption of a hydro alcoholic extract of the fresh or recently dried whole plant (including the over ground portion) seems to be especially useful in preventing and treating the common cold and conditions associated with it, such as sore throat. German authorities also recommend it as a supportive or auxiliary treatment for recurrent infections of the respiratory or urinary tracts. Externally, it is useful in the treatment of hard-to-heal superficial wounds. Significant side effects have not been reported, but allergies are always possible, particularly with plants in this family.

At one time, Echinacea was extensively adulterated with Parthenium integrifolium L., commonly known as prairie dock or Missouri snakeroot. Even some of the early scientific studies were invalidated because Echinacea was confused with this plant. Potential consumers of Echinacea should make every effort to obtain the best quality product available. Careful investigation of the reputation of the manufacturer should precede the purchase of Echinacea or, for that matter, any other plant extract.

In today's market, dominated by standardized extracts of the most popular herbs, most products containing E. angustifolia are standardized to a certain content of the caffeic acid glycoside echinacoside. This was the first compound to which biological activity was attributed for the genus. A 1950 study on the isolated compound found it had mild, insignificant antibacterial action. The compound was once considered a chemical marker for the identify of E. angustifolia; however, the compound has been identified in several additional Echinacea species. Echinacoside has not been found to be involved in the herb's immunostimulatory activity. Therefore, it is meaningless as a chemical marker of identity or as a compound to predict biological activity.

Much more work on the efficacy of Echinacea for various conditions in human subjects must be carried out before a definitive statement can be made regarding its utility as a modern therapeutic agent. However, it is a botanical that is deserving of continued attention by scientists and clinicians.

ECHINACEA USES
  • Native American medicine - The Comanche used Echinacea as a remedy for toothache and sore throats and the Sioux took it for rabies, snakebite, and septic conditions.
  • Western uses - Echinacea is the most important immune stimulant in Western herbal medicine. Echinacea is used for infections of all kinds and is particularly helpful for chronic infections, such as postviral fatigue syndrome (ME). Echinacea is also good for chilblains, colds, flu, skin disorders, and respiratory problems, and is very effective as a gargle for throat infections.
  • Allergies - Echinacea is a helpful remedy for treating allergies, such as asthma.
  • Other medical uses - Abscess, Hantavirus, Herpes, Pharyngitis, Scarlet fever, Septicemia, Strep Throat, Toxic shock syndrome.


  • HABITAT AND CULTIVATION
    Native to central parts of the US, Echinacea, particularly E. purpurea, which is easier to grow, is now commercially cultivated in Europe and the US. Grown from seed in spring or by root division in winter, it thrives best in rich, sandy soil. The flowers are gathered in full bloom, and the roots of 4-year-old plants are lifted in autumn.


    RESEARCH
    Immune system Echinacea's effect is not yet fully understood, but it is known that a number of constituents stimulate the immune system to counter both bacterial and viral infections. The polysaccharides have an antihyaluronidase action, inhibiting the ability of viruses to enter and take over cells, while the alkamides are antibacterial and antifungal. Echinacea also has a general stimulating effect on the body's immune defenses and is currently being investigated as a treatment for HIV and AIDS.


    CONSTITUENTS
    Echinacea contains volatile oil, glycosides, amides, antibiotic polyacetylenes, inulin.


    HOW MUCH TO TAKE
    As an immune system stimulant, Echinacea is best taken for a specific period of time. At the onset of a cold, it can be taken three to four times per day for ten to fourteen days. To prevent a cold, many people take Echinacea tablets or capsules three times per day for six to eight weeks. A 'rest' period is recommended after this, as Echinacea's effects may diminish if used longer. If preferred, powdered Echinacea, in about 900 mg amounts, can be taken. Liquid extract are typically taken as 3 - 4ml, three times per day.


    SIDE EFFECTS AND CAUTIONS
    Echinacea is essentially nontoxic when taken orally. People should not take Echinacea without consulting a physician if they have an autoimmune illness, such as lupus, or other progressive diseases, such as tuberculosis or multiple sclerosis. Those who are allergic to flowers of the daisy family should take Echinacea with caution. There are no known contraindications to the use of Echinacea during pregnancy or lactation.


    HOW IT WORKS IN THE BODY
    The research into how Echinacea works on the immune system is continuing, but it is clear that the polysaccharides play a key role in preventing viruses from taking hold in the body's cells. In particular the herb stimulates the white T -cells within the immune system, which fight off infection and keep the body healthy. Of the other constituents, the alkaloids perform an antibacterial function, and are also active against fungal infection. Echinacea is also used as an alterative, or blood cleanser, for the skin, clearing boils and other skin complaints.


    QUALITY OF ECHINACEA
    Basically, the fresher the Echinacea, the better it is. Some manufacturers go to great lengths to preserve freshness-they will even make liquid or powdered extracts of the plants right from the field. It has been known for a long time that Echinacea roots lose their potency when exposed to air, warmth, or moisture for more than a few months (in some cases exposure even for weeks is enough to ruin the herb). This is especially true of the cut or powdered herb. Thus, if you buy bulk Echinacea from an herb store, make sure to buy the whole root instead of the powdered herb, or at least large pieces of the root. Powdered herb in capsules or tablets can also degrade (because both plastic bottles and gelatin capsules breathe), though obviously less quickly than bulk powder. Capsules packed in glass bottles last longer than those packed in plastic ones.


    Of course, there are always pros and cons. Two good reasons to buy capsules are that they are convenient and cost-effective. So if you do opt for capsules, look at the manufacture date (not the expiration date) stamped on the bottle. Try to buy bottles that are as recent as possible and never more than one year old. If a bottle has no date on it, it is better not to buy it since there is no way to know how old the herb is. If you can only find the expiration date, ask the store owner or call the manufacturer to find out how long the expiration date is from the date of manufacture.

    The most durable type of Echinacea preparation is liquid extracts or tinctures. These retain their potency for up to two or even three years, especially when stored in amber bottles, away from heat and light. The main drawback of tinctures, however, is that their alcohol content may irritate or not be acceptable to some people. In this case the drops can be highly diluted in water or juice or placed in boiled water to evaporate much of the alcohol.

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    Echinacea