What part of the plant do you use (root)? And what all do you use it for? Thanks Sherr
It is the root which is used. Collect roots in autumn or when plant is in flower, or when the plant is dying back. Best taken from plants at least 3 years old. Chop and dry for future use, or use fresh to make tinctures. Once the root has lost its odour, it is no longer effective.
Medicinal Uses: The root is the part used, made into a tea or as a tincture. When eating the fresh root, an unusual tingling, numbing sensation occurs in the mouth and there is an increase in the flow of saliva. A similar effect occurs when eating the seed, and this is a good indicator of how fresh the preparation is. Used as a tonic for the immune system, and to reduce swellings and swollen lymph nodes, to treat Epstein-Barr infection. Decoction of the root is a strong antiseptic, with antibiotic qualities. Used to treat acne, colds, flu, coughs, sore throat, sinus infection, prostatitis, cystitis, cuts, measles, mumps, chicken pox, blood poisoning, scarlet fever, bladder infections, insect bites and stings. It is an excellent prevention medicine for severe immune disorders including cancer and AIDS. Contains Vitamins A, C and E, as well as copper, iron, iodine, sulphur and potassium.
Usual Dosage: Steep 1 teaspoon root in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes. Take 1 tablespoon 3-6 times a day. Or take 15-30 drops tincture in water every 1-3 hours, as needed. 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 6-8 weeks. A "rest" period is recommended after this, as echinacea's effects may diminish if used longer.
Warning: Professional advice should be sought before using Echinacea medicinally. Do not use if suffering from HIV, lupus, thyroid problems, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, myasthenia gravis, vertigo, anaemia, diabetes, auto-immune diseases or when pregnant, or if allergic to daisies. Excessive does may cause a scratchy, tickling sensation in the throat, and occasionally nausea and dizziness.
Any part of the plant can be used. The root is simply more concentrated, but you don't want to harvest it unless you have lots to spare. You can test the effectiveness of the herb by taste. If has antiseptic properties which give your mouth a tingle, kind of drawing the skin together. It loses that property with age, so many of the preparations you buy may no longer be effective. You don't need to dry herbs. Fresh is best. I make my herb teas with fresh herbs every day.
Daisy said: Do not use if suffering from ... thyroid problems... diabetes, auto-immune diseases...
Does it stimulate the auto-immune system?
Two species of Coneflower (or Echinacea as I know it)exist, 1)Echinacea angustifolia, and 2)Echinacea purpurea. Both are members of the Compositae family of plants.
I know Native American Indians used Echinacea augustifolia, and I also know that the Eclectics used both species but considered E. angustifloia the weaker, so I presume both are native to North America. Medicinally, both species are very similair. Both species are available to herbalists either seperately, or as is more preffered, in a blend of the two.
Both the root and aerial parts of the herb may be used. The reason the root is preferred is that a very very small number of people have an allergic dermatitis type reaction to aerial (ie the leaves and especially pollenated flowers)parts of Echinacea. These people have an ellergic reaction to other members of the Compsitae family such as Calendula. By using the root we eliminate this possibility. Active constituents are found in all parts of the plant.
No conclusive evidence has been found that Echinacea used for long peroids of time is detrimental, or that it is contraindicated in autoimmune diseases, allergies or asthma. Warnings should be noted for patients taking immunosuppressive drugs, only short term Echinacea administration is recommended. Misinformation exists about Echinacea being toxic to the liver because of the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, however these structures within the herb are known to be non-toxic. No adverse reactions nor contraindications are known for pregnancy.
I don;t know where Daisyduckworth found her list of containdications for use, as they seem unfounded. Echinacea is perfectly safe to use for diabetics, pregnant women, or those suffering hypothyroidism for instance.
Echinacea can't be used for people with AIDS and other autoimmune diseases because it stimulates the t-cells to rapidly reproduce... in Lupus, they need LESS immunity, so that their immune system won't attack the body and in AIDS, the t-cells that are reproducing are infected with the virus so that basically, it is increasing the viral load in the body.
Heathen1's concerns regarding Echinacea are theoretical, no adverse reactions have been reported by any people suffering these diseases who take Echinacea.
Given the herbs lengthy time of wide availablility, adverse reactions would have surfaced by now.
Well, being that I know what I am talking about... who would chance it? John, I think it is dangerous to say things like that...
In theory many things are possible when taking herbs. In reality, the reporting of adverse effects, in addition to empirical evidence, pharmacological and clinical studies, gives us reasons to use, or not use, a herb.
I respect your decision to give weight to theoretical concerns with herbs you use, and to decide not to use them.
ugh. Now I don't know what to think. I have type 1 diabetes, and Hashimoto's thyroiditis (both are autoimmune diseases). And I'm still actively trying to get pregnant.
Does anyone know of any studies?
Well, this is the way I see it. I know how echinacea works, and since I have HIV amongst other stuff, I can say that I don't want to chance it... and I am not blind to the fact that some people are so anti-Western medicine that they believe that herbs are not medicine and can be taken without thought to side-affects and such. That is fine for them, but to tell others that this is fact is dangerous and irresponsible... When people are young, they tend to be more "certain" in their beliefs and as they age, they realize that life isn't as cut and dried as they used to believe... SO... since I know how Echinacea works, and I have HIV, I tend to be very careful with taking it... other's can treat their bodies anyway they wish. I just HOPE that they don't allow their feelings to cloud their good judgement.