One of the benefits of living in an increasingly “global” world is that we can more readily acquire and utilize herbal medicines from other cultures and countries. This is a great boon to modern medicine, but while out seeking the next great cure from the jungles in some distant locale, we mustn’t forget the local plants that still have healing properties we have yet to discover. Echinacea is one such plant. It is, in fact, the most researched plant in the world, and everyone has heard of its usage in some capacity or another, but it is surprising to learn just how many ailments this wonder plant can actually treat.
Echinacea was first discovered in the United States, and up until the transport of plants from the New World to Europe , it only grew in the United States and a small part of Southern Canada. The Native Americans had long been using Echinacea, specifically the plains-growing variety, angustifolia, to treat such concerns as toothaches, sore throats, coughs, infections, , and snake and insect bites. Later, colonists and settlers learned of its use from the natives and used it, as J.S. Niderkorn, a 19th-century physician noted, to correct “the deparvations of body fluids.”
Today one of the most commonly referred to aspects of Echinacea is its ability to stimulate the production of leucocytes, and assist with phagocytosis. Put more simply, this means that the herb helps to create more pac-men to send out and dispose of the garbage that is in our bodies. Echinacea has a mild antibiotic effect, and is used in a wide array of bacterial infections, internally and externally. It has been used in the treatment of tonsillitis, bronchitis, sinusitis, hay fever, UTIs, yeast infections, athlete’s foot, ear infections, in venomous situations such as a snake bite, and is also known to have pain-reliever and anti-inflammatory properties. As a North American herb that is known and used throughout the world, this herb continues to bear out what the Native Americans already knew, namely, that it is “powerful medicine.”
A number of WishGarden products use Echinacea. We are currently offering a 10% discount on all Echinacea products bought online. To find out more, visit http://www.wishgardenherbs.com/herbs/Echinacea+Purpurea+root.
Written by Carrie Pattison, WishGarden Education Director