Echinacea herb contains a complex mixture of compounds which possess antimicrobial properties, while simultaneously stimulating the immune system.
That is an excellent natural choice for the prevention and treatment of inflammation of the airways, typical for the cold winter season.
All types of Echinacea contain substances that are known collectively as phenols – compounds with strong antioxidant properties. Phenols protect plants from infection and damage, and has positive effect on the human body.
However, this plant contains something else – compound called Echinacoside, which is typical for it. This compound prevents the penetration of microbes in healthy cells, so that viruses and bacteria can not take up permanent residence in the human body.
That’s why the echinacea is ideal to be taken as soon as colds or problems with the airways start, because then you can prevent their development. If taken later, when problems with airways already developed, it is less efficient.
One study at the University of Connecticut analyzed the results of use of Echinacea to prevent colds. The statistical researchers came to the conclusion that the use of these plants as a preventive measure reduces the risk of colds by 58 %. And they also determine that if the Echinacea is taken at existing colds, statistically speaking, it shortens the duration of the disease in an average of 25%. Best influence against flu has this plant, called Echinacea Purpurea. ( Drops of these plants can be found in most health food stores ). The other two species of this plant, Echinacea Pallida and Echinacea Angustifolia are less efficient. Echinacea can help in the prevention and treatment of colds, flu, bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections and inflammation of the gums. Echinacea has been shown that also has a beneficial effect in the case of prolonged or recurrent infections, such as ear infections.
How to use
Echinacea is most commonly used in the form of tinctures – herbal extract solution in alcohol. Each bottle contains tinctures and prescription how the drops should be taken and how many times a day. There are also Echinacea pills, although they are rarely found in the stores.