The previous echinacea thread got bogged down in dogeral. This is a great time of year to make an echinacea tincture from the fresh plant. ANY type of echinacea will make a great tincture, even the hoity toity fluff head garden hybrids.
To make a tincture: Take a pint size mason jar & pop in two newly opened blooms, then fill it with 80 proof vodka. Cap & store in a dark place for a week or until the flowers turn pale. Uncap, strain or fish out the flowers and pop in another two flowers heads, recap & store again. I do this three or four times-- it turns brown. Tastes wretched but works like a dream. Wine is more palatable; some people prefer brandy as the base.
If you don't like alcohol, you can use glycerin or vinegar because the components in echinacea are water soluble (which is why you don't have to use grain or really high proofs of alcohol-- just enough to preserve it). Cut the glycerin 1 part water to 2 parts glycerin to keep it preserved. Vinegar can be used straight. (THAT really does a sucker punch on your saliva ducts & is best taken with a bit of honey as well).
If you prefer to use the roots, wait until the tops die back & dig them up-- this of course may be late late in fall or early winter depending on where you live. They are very thready, which is why you "wait" for 3 year plants. You don't get much out of one plant. Clean them off (just wash them--don't scrape them to bits), let them dry out for a day and chop them into your preferred method of preservation. Tincture for six weeks before using.