The Benefits & Versatility of Echinacea

At a time when our health is under attack from the same people who we are being lead to believe is supposed to be fixing "Health Care", we discovered this article about Echinacea that is a must read. When you hear about studies that find Echinacea to be ineffective, just remember that this is not new. According to this article the AMA had dismissed Echinacea as being worthless back in 1910. It is a pattern of the medical establishment to dismiss anything that cannot be patented and highly profitable. When vitamin E was discovered it was also dissed and it is also under attack again. My friends don't sabotage your health in this "Health Care System". When our Heavenly Father made the herbs He said that it was "perfect" for your heath. Don't be fooled by people who don't have even 1% of the intelligence of our creator. 

Echinacea is a very popular American wildflower and garden plant, the purple coneflower. It's also one of America's most popular herbal products, also used to prevent and treat the common cold, influenza and infections. Echinacea is the best known and one of the most researched of immunostimulants.

Echinacea was among the most popular herbs used by Native American Indians. At least 14 tribes used Echinacea for a coughs, colds, sore throats, infections, toothaches, inflammations, tonsillitis, and snake bites, among other uses. It was used by the Dakotas as a veterinary medicine for their horses.

By the early Twentieth century, Echinacea had become the best selling medicinal tincture in America, used for a variety of internal and external conditions. But by 1910 it had been dismissed as worthless by the AMA, although it continued to be used. Echinacea fell into disuse in this country in the 1930's. However, Europeans began growing and using Echinacea, especially the Germans, and to this day have produced the best scientific documentation of its value. The extract's popularity in the U.S. grew rapidly during the 1980s, and the plant is now again among America's best-selling herb extracts.

The most common anecdotal reports about the use of Echinacea are from people who begin taking the extract at the first sign of a cold. Often to their surprise, they find the cold has disappeared, usually within twenty-four hours, and sometimes after taking the extract only once. Anecdotal evidence carries little weight in scientific circles, but plant drug researchers have conducted over 350 scientific studies about Echinacea. Here's what some of those studies say about Echinacea:

The most consistently proven effect of Echinacea is in stimulating phagocytosis, or the consumption of invading organisms by white blood cells and lymphocytes. To prove this, scientists incubate human white blood cells, yeast cells and Echinacea extract. They examine the blood cells microscopically and a count the numbers of yeast cells gobbled up by the blood cells. Extracts of Echinacea can increase phagocytosis by 20-40%. Another test, called "the carbon clearance" test, measures the speed with which injected carbon particles are removed from the bloodstream of a mouse. The quicker the mouse can remove the injected foreign particles, the more its immune system has been stimulated. In this test too, echinacea extracts excel, confirming the fact that this remarkable plant increases the activity of immune system cells so they can more quickly eliminate invading organisms and foreign particles.

As with Astragalus, Echinacea causes an increase in the number of immune cells, further enhancing the overall activity of the immune system. Echinacea also stimulates the production of interferon as well as other important products of the immune system, including "Tumor Necrosis Factor", which is important to the body's response against cancer.

Echinacea also inhibits an enzyme (hyaluronidase), which is secreted by bacteria, and helps them gain access to healthy cells. Research in the early 1950's showed that Echinacea could completely counteract the effect of this enzyme, and this could help prevent infection when used to treat wounds. While Echinacea is usually used internally for the treatment of viruses and bacteria, it is being used more externally for the treatment of wounds. It also kills yeast and slows or stops the growth of bacteria, and helps to stimulate the growth of new tissue. It combats inflammation too, further supporting its use in the treatment of wounds.

Research in 1957, showed that an extract of Echinacea caused a 22% reduction in inflammation among arthritis sufferers. That is only about half as effective as steroids, but steroids have serious side-effects. Steroids also strongly suppress the immune system, which makes them a poor choice for treating any condition in which infection is likely. Echinacea, on the other hand, is non-toxic, and adds immune-stimulating properties to its anti-inflammatory effect.

Most people use Echinacea for warding off colds and influenza. Extracts, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, are the most commonly used form, and the usual amount taken is one capsule (300-400 mg). This is taken at the first sign of a cold and repeated two or three times a day. European clinics do not use continuous doses of Echinacea but rather alternate three days on and three days off. This is because some testing shows that the immune system in healthy subjects can only be stimulated briefly before returning to its normal state. After several days without stimulation, immunostimulants can again be effective.

Echinacea has an excellent safety record. After hundreds of years of use, no toxicity or side-effects have been reported except rare allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. The purple coneflower is a truly American contribution to world health care through herbs. This safe and effective immune stimulant was discovered and first used by the Native Americans and is now a major medicinal plant used throughout Europe and the U.S.

Sourced from Madison Avenue West, Inc.
 

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