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    Miracle Herb Echinacea: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Recipes

    Benefits Of Echinacea Echinacea is a group of herbaceous flowering plants that belong to the daisy family. The plants are commonly termed as coneflower [1]  are used for ornamental purposes to health and body care. The herb is exceedingly popular due to the assortment of benefits it encompasses. It has been used for its healing properties for centuries. The roots, leaves, flowers and the stem of the plant are used.
    echinacea

    Currently, it is one of the best and effective over-the-counter herbal remedies, especially for flu and common cold [2] . Possessing antibacterial, antiviral, anticatarrhal, antioxidant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, digestive, stimulant, and vulnerary properties, echinacea is can be applied in treating various ailments [3] . Echinacea is available in the form of dried roots, dried leaves, tinctures, water-based extracts, tablets, teas, capsules, and freshly pressed juices.

    The herb is used in healing external as well as internal maladies, making it a medicinal all-rounder. The chemical composition [4]  of the upper part of the plant differs from that of is root, and are strong immune system stimulators enduring a significant therapeutic value. The is not only beneficial in treating ailments [5]  but also improves the quality of your hair and skin. Read on to know more about the surprising benefits offered by the amazing herb.

    Uses Of Echinacea

    Due to the amazing benefits possessed by the herb, it is widely used for various purposes [6] .

    • Gum disease
    • Pain relief
    • Dizziness
    • Genital herpes
    • Malaria
    • Rattlesnake bite [7]
    • Tonsillitis
    • Vaginal yeast infection
    • Typhoid
    • Streptococcus infection
    • Rheumatism [8]
    • Gum disease
    • Septicemia (bloodstream infection)
    • Flu
    • Bug bites [9]

    Benefits Of Echinacea

    Apart from being an effective cure for common cold and flu, the amazing herb is home to an overabundance of advantages.

    1. Reduces blood sugar levels

    According to studies, echinacea has been proven to be effective in suppressing the enzymes that digest carbohydrates [10] . By performing this process, the herb helps in reducing the sugar levels in your bloodstream. It limits the entrance of large amounts of sugar into the blood and is also asserted that it helps elevate the function of diabetes drugs [11] . This property of echinacea is beneficial in managing type 2 diabetes, as well as other chronic conditions.

    2. Fights cancer

    A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health on the effective role of echinacea in cancer treatment revealed that the phytochemicals[12]  within the herb is helpful in combating cancer. The study revealed the positive results echinacea had on reducing the level of brain cancer. The herb is used as a natural cancer treatment has become popular now.

    The chicoric acid [13]  naturally found in echinacea plants can kill the cancer cells, and stun the further growth of the cells. However, studies are still ongoing to examine the definite impact it will have on the human body [14] .

    3. Fights flu symptoms

    Echinacea is commonly known as the single most effective treatment for common cold and flu. Various studies have revealed the impact it has on reducing the severity of the flu symptoms [15] . It helps your body from succumbing to the flu and provides relief by quickly curing it. The anti-inflammatory properties possessed by the herb can be accorded to this function.

    4. Boosts immunity

    The wonder herb is highly effective in improving your immune system [16] . Echinacea is proven to protect your body from illnesses and infection by strengthening your immune system. It reduces the chances of your body being affected by infections and related ailments. Being anti-inflammatory in nature, the herb reduces the onset of infectious diseases and inflammation.

    It aids the process by increasing the number of white blood cells that ward off the infection causing elements from your body. The herb, in fact, strengthens your immune system [17]  so that it can easily fight against the disease-causing elements.

    Also readWinged Beans: 18 Health Benefits Of The Nutrient-rich Legume

    5. Fights inflammation

    As previously mentioned, the herb is widely utilised for its anti-inflammatory nature. Regular consumption of echinacea can help fight inflammation [18]  and reduce excessive inflammation in your body. Consuming the herb can help in reducing the pain and swelling caused by the inflammation [19]  as well. It is proven to have a positive impact in treating different types of inflammation. Consuming echinacea tea on a regular is shown to reduce inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis [20] .

    echinacea facts

    6. Treats respiratory issues

    The anti-inflammatory and immunity building property of the herb is utilised in treating respiratory infections [21] . The antimicrobial property of echinacea also works in treating the issues. The alkamide molecules destroy the fungus entering into the respiratory tract, thereby providing relief. Echinacea is asserted to have an impact in treating respiratory issues such as acute sinusitis, asthma, common cold, croup, diphtheria, inflammation, strep throat, tuberculosis and whooping cough [22] .

    7. Alleviates pain

    Widely used as a natural painkiller, echinacea is an effective natural pain reliever. Extracts from the herb have been proven to bear the TRPV1 receptor, that can help reduce pain [23] . AN anti-pain antidote, it is used in treating headaches, migraine, stomach pain, herpes, toothache, and pain caused by bowel movement [24] .

    8. Treats herpes

    By boosting the immune system and possessing the antiviral property, echinacea can be used in treating the symptoms of herpes [25] . Consuming the herb is asserted to have a beneficial impact on treating the infection, as it not only reduces the severity of the infection but also its frequency. Once cured, it is not likely that the infection may recur.

    9. Improves skin quality

    As echinacea has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and rejuvenating properties, it is exceptionally good for your skin. It helps in treating acne [26]  because the herb suppresses the growth of Propionibacterium which causes acne. Echinacea is widely used in the cosmetic industry as it contributes towards improving skin hydration. It is also used to reduce wrinkles, and improve eczema [27]  symptoms. The herb can be used to limit premature ageing [28] .

    10. Reduces anxiety

    In recent years, there has been an increase in the application of echinacea in treating stress. The herb is proven to have anxiety reducing [29]  properties due to the presence of compounds such as alkamides, rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid. It is also used as a remedy for treating the symptoms of ADHD [30] [31] . Echinacea is extremely beneficial in improving your mental health and helps manage depression and social phobias [32] .

    Also readGinkgo Biloba (Maidenhair Tree): Uses, Benefits & Risks

    Echinacea Recipes

    1. Elderberry-Echinacea Syrup

    Ingredients [33]

    • 1 cup fresh or dried elderberries
    • 2 tbsp dried echinacea 
    • 1 tbsp dried ginger root 
    • 1-2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
    • 3 cups distilled water
    • 3/4 cups raw honey

    Directions

    • Heat the pot for making the syrup on low flame.
    • Add all the ingredients, except the honey.
    • Simmer the ingredients on medium flame.
    • Once simmered, keep the medium in low and leave it there for 45 minutes - stirringly occasionally.
    • Once the liquid is reduced in half, smash the elderberries with the back of a spoon.
    • Remove from heat and strain the solids from the liquid. 
    • Juice out even the last drop of liquid.
    • Let it cool for 10 - 15 minutes.
    • Slowly pour the honey into the liquid and stir well.
    • You can refrigerate it and use it.

    2. Hot Ginger Echinacea Lemon Tea

    Ingredients[34]

    • 2 cups boiling water
    • 1 tbsp dried echinacea fresh edible flower (or roots)
    • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
    • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
    • 1 tbsp honey

    Directions

    • In a teapot, pour the boiling water over the chopped ginger and echinacea.
    • Cover it and steep for 10 minutes.
    • Add lemon juice and honey, and stir well. 
    • Strain it and enjoy.

    Side Effects Of Echinacea

    Short-term use of the herb has been associated with very reactions, and that too in rare cases. Some of the side effects caused by echinacea are as follows [35] .

    • Itchy skin
    • Rashes
    • Stomach pain
    • Hives
    • Swelling
    • Shortness of breath
    • Nausea

    Warnings

    • Individuals who are allergic to flowers such as chrysanthemums, daisies, ragweed, marigolds should not use the herb as it will cause allergic reactions.
    • People with autoimmune disorders who consume immunosuppressive drugs should avoid the herb [36] .
    • Although safe during pregnancy, excessive consumption is not recommended.
    • The herb can react with medicines that have caffeine content.
    • Without a doctor's consultation, do not give echinacea to children below age 12.
    View Article References
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