Behind the Brew: Echinacea

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Beautiful Purple Cone Flowers can often be seen in North American gardens. However, few people know this common plant produces the extract Echinacea. Often praised for its immune boosting effects, Echinacea has become a widely accepted naturopathic remedy.

Trivia:

  • Archaeologists believe that Native Americans may have been using Echinacea as a “cure all” for over 400 years.
  • In 1870, Echinacea advocate H.C.F Meyer created Meyer’s Blood Purifier as a treatment for everything from syphilis to snakebite. He even volunteered to be bitten by a snake to prove the effectiveness of his product.
  • The popularity of this wonder plant waned in the United States with the introduction of antibiotics.
  • In Germany, the plant is approved to treat colds, upper respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and small wounds.
  • It is believed that the root of the Echinacea plant can help keep flu symptoms at bay.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Although available in pill form, teas and tinctures are believed to be more effective when used medicinally.
  • Prevent the throat tickle from becoming a full-blown cold by making Echinacea tea part of your daily routine. Studies show that drinking Echinacea tea has a 58% effective rate of preventing the common cold.
  • Suffer from eczema, skin irritation or even boils? Lather your skin with topical Echinacea and watch the healing begin.
  • Don’t like cranberry juice? Drink Echinacea tea instead to treat that urinary tract infection. If making your own tea, make sure you use the roots to receive the full benefit.
  • If using the plants from your garden to make the tea, there is no need to dig it up. The leaves and flowers also have medicinal qualities, just choose ones that are healthy and bug free.
  • Add some flavor to your home brew with spearmint, lemon grass, chamomile or rose hips. Honey will not only add a bit of sweetness, but will help ease that cough or ailing throat.

Try It!
Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Plus®
Yogi Tea Green Tea Triple Echinacea
Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Echinacea Complete Care Wellness Tea
Eechinacea
Sources:
University of Maryland Medical Center
Dr. Christopher Hobbs, Herbalist, author, botanist, mycologist & research scientist
How Stuff Works
CF3
Hub Pages 
Livin’ in the Green 


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About Author

Anne-Marie Hardie

Anne-Marie Hardie believes in fully immersing herself in each and every experience: from discovering that perfect cup of tea to researching the newest trends. Her writing has been featured in a variety of magazines including Tea and Coffee Trade Journal, Tea Magazine, Growers Talk, CAA magazine and www.yogaflavouredlife.com. Anne-Marie’s passions are her family, practicing yoga and drinking a fantastic cup of tea.

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