This time of year is the time to reflect and show appreciation and give thanks for the great blessings in our lives. One of those blessings for me is the knowledge that I have of herbs and the herbs themselves that
have blessed me and my family for so many years.
Echinacea was one of the first herbs we used and found that it was a true blessing for healing from colds and flu. It seemed to never let us down when we needed its virtues. Whenever we felt sick we would reach for the echinacea extract bottle and most times it was what we grew and made ourselves. It
helped to stimulate our immune system and stop the cold from progressing and we’d feel better in no time. Echinacea is an herb I wouldn’t want to be without.
Echinacea has many different species. The most common are Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea commonly known as purple coneflower. All parts of the plant can be used but the root is most often what is sold for medicinal purposes. The leaves and flowers have many of the same
benefits as the root and can be picked and dried for making infusions or extracts.
Echinacea flowers have purple ray petals and bristly cones in the center. They are on a long erect stalk with lance shaped toothed leaves. The properties of echinacea are to stimulate the immune system by increasing the white blood cells making it effective for fighting infection in the body. It is a powerful
blood purifier and is known as a remedy for snake bites and spider bites. Echinacea can be taken frequently at the first sign of an illness and is effective for about 5 days then take a couple of days off and start again. Topically echinacea can be applied to any wound and it will help prevent infection and encourage healing.
Echinacea has been used by Native Americans throughout history. It is native to North America but caution should be used in gathering plants in their natural habitat because of over harvesting. We want to keep this plant around forever. It is a very nice plant to grow in any herb garden and adds color and
beauty as well as medicinal benefits. It can be cultivated by seed or root transplants.
If you don’t have echinacea growing in your herb garden, consider adding it this next growing season. It will provide beauty and medicine when needed and will be something you will be very grateful for.