Immune System [rate]

Immune Boosting Capability of Echinacea

This is a perennial herb native to Northern America. It is characterized by a conical seed head with spines similar to those of an angry hedgehog and during blossom it has single pink or purple flower. The plant has been used for a long time by ancient indians in the treatment of flu and common colds. The herb is used for many medical purposes like treatment of herpes, urinary tract infections, upper respiratory infections and many yeast infections.

Components

Echinacea is known to contain many useful components like: polysaccharides, glycoproteins, alkamides, and volatile oils, which are found in all parts of the plant. Echinacea roots contain more volatile oils while the upper parts contain most polysaccharides. Research has proved that the upper parts of the plant are most useful, as they contain most antiinflamatory components. The extracts from Echinacea can be found in different forms of capsules, ointments, tinctures, tablets,and extracts.

Uses of echinacea

Pure forms of this herbacious plant are known to treat the following conditions and ailments:

  • common colds
  • urinary tract infections
  • slow healing wounds
  • yeast infections
  • septicemia
  • typhoid
  • malaria

These are just a few of the uses of this plant. Many may be skeptical of the acclaimed uses of echinacea to boost immunity. The extracts from an Echinacea plant have been found to contain chemicals that help boost your immunity. They have hormonal, antiviral and antioxidant properties that help the body to fight ailments or infections.

The good effects of using Echinacea extracts cannot be exaggerated because they definitely out do the side effects. The side effects of using this plant as a herbal remedy are few and have only been reported in small numbers. One person was said to have had a painful skin condition after using an ointment. There have been cases too of serious anaphylaxis, a condition charactericed by shortness of breath like in asthma. This is why you should use any type of herbal medicine with careful supervision by a doctor or botanical expert.

The advised dosage should be followed to completion mostly three times a day until you get better but should not exceed ten days. A study taken by the University of Maryland shows that echinacea should not be used with certain forms of medication like immuno suppressants which may be rendered useless. One should also avoid taking Echinacea with: econazole and alcohol in children.

There are a variety of forms of echinacea, pallida, purpurea and angustifolia. The content of various elements in any given type of echinacea differs mainly depending on the location, time of picking, and geographical conditions. Many extracts have been found to contain impurities like lead, arsenic and selenum. The standardization labels may fool you and so you should seek advise from a doctor or specialist. The immunity boosting capabilities of echinacea inhibit diseases like  herpes simplex related cold sores, rattlesnake bites and even migraines. The use of this herb during pregnancy has not been researched and the advice given to nursing mothers is to take with serious precaution and seek advice from their doctor.