Echinacea purpurea, also known as the purple coneflower, is one of the most versatile and powerful natural immune system enhancers. It has numerous healing properties that are diverse and wide spread. Ifs no wonder that it was used for more ailments than any other herb by Native Americans.
Echinacea acts as an antiseptic, antimicrobial, antisecretory, and anti-inflammatory and fights against both viral and bacterial infections. It is therefore, very powerful in fighting off any infection. It works by stimulating and strengthening the body’s own natural defense system. It is extremely beneficial in treating colds, flus, upper respiratory infections, tonsillitis, and mouth and throat infections.
Echinacea performs multiple functions because of its chemical composition. According to “The Doctors’ Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia” by Sheldon Saul Hendler, M.D., Ph.D., “Several reports indicate that the immune-stimulating property of echinacea is due to a polysaccharide. Macrophages are key players in the immune system…Any substance which activates macrophages could have consider-able significance in the treatment of such diseases as cancer and AIDS. A report in the December 1984 issue of Infection and Immunity demonstrated that a polysaccharide fraction derived from echinacea purpurea significantly increased the killing effect of macrophages on tumor cells. The polysaccharide also increased the production of free oxygen radicals and interleukin-1 … Another report indicated that echinacea enhances natural killer cell activity, another important component in the immune system.”
In addition, echinacea contains oligosaccharides, which are extremely potent immune stimulants, and echinosides, which are similar to the compounds in penicillin. Echinacea has been said to be more powerful than antibiotics, even penicillin, because it performs more than one specific function. It stimulates the body’s own antibiotic chemicals by increasing their activity and production. Stimulating the body’s natural defense system is the most powerful form of medicine.
Echinacea also protects and supports all the cells of the body, as it has been shown to increase the production of white blood cells. It helps purify the blood and lymph systems. It also is an organ tonic, and helps preserve connective tissue.
Echinacea is available in its most potent form, as a standardized liquid extract, or in capsule form. For maximum benefits, echinacea should be taken at the suggested dose for no more than five consecutive days.