Echinacea is the most useful herb to increase immunity, being very popular among the remedies used for strengthening the body’s resistance to diseases.
The results of several scientific types of research converge to the same conclusion, namely that Echinacea is an exceptionally immunomodulatory agent with a broad range of action.
Echinacea increases the innate and adaptive immune functions
Echinacea has three species: Echinacea Angustifolia (Narrow-leaf Coneflower), Echinacea Pallida (Pale Purple Coneflower) and Echinacea Purpurea (Purple Coneflower, Eastern Purple Coneflower). All have multiple regulating effects on the immune function. This plant can modulate the innate immune responses, both the non-specific, as well as the adaptive, particular ones. This proves that Echinacea has an immunomodulatory potential for the entire immune system.
Studies have shown that treatments with Echinacea stimulate the production of lymphocytes and interferon. Echinacea extracts are widely used to treat various types of infections, particularly the ones of the respiratory tract. The plant has exceptional efficiency especially for colds and the flu because of its antiviral properties. Echinacea prevents and shortens the period of a cold, increases the systemic immune response during a common cold and has the potential to reduce the risk of relapse and complications of respiratory infections. Studies have also shown that Echinacea has fungal and antimicrobial action, being very well known by the American Indian population. A long time ago, they had used Echinacea ointments to treat infected wounds. For instance, a study conducted at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in Poland showed that Echinacea stimulates cellular immunity and antibacterial defense of the body.
How to use Echinacea to boost immunity levels?
Echinacea is recommended for all individuals who are in need of an increase in the overall resistance of the organism. Most experts do not recommend Echinacea for the long term. To boost the immune system, the capsules with dry Echinacea extract proved to be very efficient.
Echinacea is an effective aid to awaken the immune system, but it should be used for periods no longer than eight weeks. After this period, take a break of 14 days before using Echinacea again. The more prolonged use of Echinacea will keep the immune system in a permanent alert state, which is not beneficial for the body.
Side effects and warnings
Echinacea is not indicated for children under two years old or people allergic to plants from the Asteraceae family: chrysanthemum, marigold, milfoil, etc. Stop the treatment if you notice any of these side effects: itching of the nose, eyes, throat and skin, difficulty in breathing, tearing or respiratory catarrh. Echinacea is also contraindicated for people with autoimmune diseases, tuberculosis, AIDS or diabetes, and those taking immunosuppressant drugs or treatment for leukemia.
Echinacea helps the body prevent a variety of infections and diseases and be strong during extreme situations. Echinacea is available over the counter at drugstores, supermarkets, and health shops. You can find it as teas, dried herb, powder, liquid extracts, and as capsules or tablets.