Echinacea Is Good For Fighting Colds
Echinacea is more widely known today than it was even 10 years ago as a plant that is good to use for subduing colds and upper respiratory infections. We have our Native American ancestors to thank for discovering the healing aspects of this pretty summer blooming plant. The common name with most gardeners is the coneflower and it kind of looks like a pink daisy or light purple black-eyed susan.
Our Indian ancestors used this perennial plant for many purposes because they had discovered that it works well in helping the body to resist infection causing bacteria and viral attacks to the body. It isn’t so much that the plant will kill the organisms that are invading our bodies as it is that echinacea helps our body’s natural defenses to work better at getting rid of the culprits at hand.
Since the cold and flu season is upon us as I write this post, I thought this would be a good remedy to talk about in the beginning of my series on physical remedies. Echinacea is still recommended by herbalists for upper respiratory infections along with laryngitis and tonsillitis and the common cold. It can also relieve the mucous membranes of the nose and sinuses. If used as a mouthwash it can help in treating many gum diseases.
As for the parts of the plant that are best used for healing purposes most of the benefits come from the roots of these pretty flowers. These roots can be ground to a powder and used as a tea, can be an ingredient in lottions to speed healing of cuts and sores, or gargled as a mouthwash. However, you do not have to propagate the roots from your own garden to get the benefits. You can easily find extracts and teas in pharmacies, herb shops and health food stores. My husband and I use the product below on a regular basis.
One thing to remember is that when drinking the tea, you are not consuming it for the flavor but for the health benefits of the plant. It doesn’t taste horrible but does have a bit of a grain or wheat taste to it. I usually add a teaspoon of honey to sweeten it a little. I have also discovered that, for me anyway, it is better to drink it down pretty fast while the tea is still pretty warm. The cooler the tea gets the more grain flavored it seems to get and even takes on a bit of a bitter taste.
You can also take a tea bag that has absorbed water and place it on a cut or sore and get some benefit out of it or let the tea cool and use it to gargle with. Gargling when you have a sore throat really seems to help considerably.
I also want to remind you that you should always read the label of the product before you consume it to make sure that your body will be OK with the product. I am not a physician or licensed herbalist and do not know your personal physical condition or medications that you are taking that might have an adverse reaction with echinacea, so this is an honest recommendation that I would want you to check with your own physician before trying. It has worked for my husband and I, especially in the winter months, but we also asked our physician before we began to drink the tea.