Echinacea represents a group of flowering plants in the daisy family.
The Echinacea genus contains nine species, which are called purple coneflowers.
Echinacea are native to eastern and central North America, where they grow on the prairies and open wooded areas.
The name is derived from the Greek sea urchin or echino named for the plant’s spiny central disk.
Echinacea products vary widely in composition.
They contain different species (E. purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida), different plant components (roots, flowers, extracts), different preparations (extracts and expressed juice), and different chemical compositions.
Echinacea's medicine comes from its leaves, flower, and root.
Echinacea is used to fight infections, especially the commocold and other upper respiratory infections. Some people take echinacea at the first sign of a cold, hoping they will be able to keep the cold from developing. Other people take echinacea after cold sn ymptoms have started, hoping they can make symptoms less severe. The people who use echinacea to treat symptoms have the right idea. Research to date shows that echinacea probably modestly reduces cold symptoms, but it’s not clear whether it helps prevent colds from developing.
Echinacea is also used against many other infections including the flu, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.