Often called purple coneflower, the term echinacea refers to several species of plants that are generally found in the Great Plains region of North America. It was the most widely used medicinal plant of the Native Americans of this area. Native Americans often exploited echinacea for its external wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Ironically, it was a German researcher, Dr. Gerhard Madaus, who imported echinacea seeds to Europe and initiated the first modern scientific research on the immunostimulating properties of this plant. Due to his work, echinacea has become one of the most important over-the-counter remedies in Germany, where it is employed for relieving the common cold and flus.
(Source: www.alternativemedicine.com, “the herbal medicine chest” section.)