Benefits of Echinacea

by Jeannine Tidwell

The benefits of echinacea make it easy to truly love this plant. With a beautiful flower and glossy green leaves standing on a tall and stately stalk all resting on a hardy taproot, this plant stands noble in yards, gardens, prairies, forests and meadows.

Benefits of Echinacea

A quick primer on echinacea

There are many varieties of this plant and the medicinal benefits of echinacea can be found in the leaves, flowers and roots of all of them. It's no wonder then that echinacea has been cultivated to grow in gardens. Having been used widely for hundreds if not thousands of years, there are several species of echinacea native to North America and many of the medicinal qualities are universal to the different species. They have a variety of common names and an eye-catching head of colors but they all have that same spiky central disc that makes them well-known.

The Benefits of Echinacea

It's amazing to think that echinacea can boost the immune system, heal skin injuries like burns and other external wounds, alleviate allergies, take away tooth pain, fight the flu, slow or stop bacterial growth, and even inhibit cancer. If that weren't enough, here is a staggering list of the benefits of echinacea:

  • Improve blood circulation
  • Reduce chances and duration of the common cold
  • Stimulate cell activity used for fighting infections
  • Mend coughs
  • Settle a fever
  • Relieve neck pain
  • Treat gum disease
  • Purify the blood
  • Soothe abdominal pain
  • Help with anxiety
  • Care for chronic fatigue
  • Dispel a headache or migraine
  • Alleviate nasal congestion
  • Heal mumps and measles
  • Support rheumatism and arthritis
  • Treat snake and insect bites

It seems obvious that the benefits of echinacea are many. Echinacea has become most popular for awakening the cells in your body that fight invaders coming in. It is the most subtle of battles and even the most delicate and invisible allies need support. So when you take echinacea, whether it be the leaves, flowers or root, your body temperature rises and your immune system kicks into action. But really, there are many ways and forms that echinacea can be taken for a plethora of ailments and even for the body's support when you're already well. Whether it be as a sore throat spray, an infusion or decoction, in tablets or capsules, through a tincture or even an ointment, echinacea is a potent and versatile herbal remedy.

Benefits of Echinacea

An Older Perspective

It's easy to go to any health food store or nowadays most regular grocery stores and buy echinacea in an array of forms designed for convenience in our fast paced post-modern world. But there is another, much older way.

I remember one afternoon years ago, taking a walk with my elder and mentor Gilbert Walking Bull, a traditional Lakota teacher and healer. We were out on the Black Hills of South Dakota and we came upon a beautiful, bright echinacea plant. Looking up, we noticed the gentle hills dotted with these wonderful flowers. Gilbert spoke to us about the plant for a while, talking about the subtleties of harvesting plant medicine in a sacred manner. How the time of year, month, and even day can have a significant impact on the quality of medicine, as well as how an individual must conduct themselves throughout the harvesting process. How our thoughts, intentions, and prayers impact the plant medicine, as we are in a living, breathing, relationship with the plants.

After praying with the plant for a while, Gilbert used a digging stick to unearth the root and began to share with us the many benefits of echinacea, focusing particularly on how it was such a powerful toothache medicine. In a moment of synchronicity, the very next day a friend of mine got a serious toothache and had incredible pain that came on. Gilbert offered them the root of the echinacea. Shortly after they chewed on it for a while and made a strong decoction to drink. Within 24 hours the tooth pain was gone, almost miraculously.

It is these kinds of experiences with echinacea that come only when we slow down and take the time to step outside and connect with the plants right around us, whether it be in our yards, gardens or in the wild. When we have moments like these it can often come at the perfect time when medicinal help is most needed. I invite you to do just that, regardless of whether you find yourself buying a tincture from the store or wandering the wilds.

Additional Resources

Here's your golden moment. You get to keep the learning alive by researching and discovering more about the benefits of echinacea and all of the gifts it has to offer.

Here are a couple of great books for learning more about echinacea and other medicinal plants to support your health and wellness as well as those you love.

  • A Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Christopher Hobbs
  • Natural Antibiotics: 20 Valuable Tips On How to Use Echinacea As an Alternative Medicine for Natural Healing With Home Remedies by Sun Price

Interested in being personally mentored in Herbal Remedies & Medicinal Plants, on a transformational journey of connection to nature, community, and self?

Check out the Twin Eagles Wilderness Immersion Program.

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