Echinacea, also known as coneflower, is a wildflower that grows naturally in meadows and moist low-lands throughout the midwest.
While Echinacea is most commonly known for its medicinal effects, it is also a common garden plant with beautiful purple flowers.
While already popular as a medicinal herb, the true potential of Echinacea has yet to be fully explored by the medical industry.
Health Benefits of Echinacea:
Echinacea is thought to serve as a stimulant to the body's immune system by activating white blood cells, thereby making it more difficult for foreign bodies to infect cells. Echinacea is one of the most popular herbal remedies for respiratory infections. Echinacea's positive effects on the immune system have also been studied extensively for cancer and AIDS patients. Some researchers believe that stimulating immune function actually may cause cancers and AIDS to progress faster, while others find a disease-relieving effect from using Echinacea. Some evidence from other clinical studies appears to indicate that Echinacea may have antiviral and antifungal effects, possibly adding to its infection-fighting ability. However, Echinacea's use in all of these conditions needs further study before it can be recommended.
In some European countries, Echinacea is available intravenously for add-on therapy in connection with some types of cancer. European doctors also use an injected form to help relieve urinary tract infections. Neither intravenous nor Echinacea injections are available in the United States.
Topically, Echinacea has been used in connection with eczema and psoriasis, severe ailments for many people. It has been added to topical preparations for hemorrhoids and it is included in other topical products used on insect bites. It may also protect skin from damage due to sunlight.
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