Echinacea is also known colloquially as the purple coneflower, and grows natively in North America.

It has for centuries been used as a treatment for a variety of health problems, and is still used today by top medical professionals as a supplement to or replacement for drug therapy.

Primarily, echinacea is believed to be effective in warding off various types infection, including the troublesome common cold (for which of course there is no current cure).

Traditionally, echinacea was used by the native North American Indians as a treatment for snakebite and anthrax poisoning, and its popularity spread across the Atlantic to many parts of Europe in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Like many medicines extracted directly from plants and largely unprocessed, the health benefits of echinacea are due to a number of different factors stemming from different aspects of its chemical makeup.

It is known to have certain antimicrobial properties, possibly due to its high phenol content, and also acts to stimulate the human immune system in different ways.

As well as phenols, echinacea contains polysaccharides and alkylamides, both known to have beneficial health effects for humans. Continue reading