Throughout history, man has used plants for healing – and even today, around 40% of medications used in Western medicine are derived from plant extracts.
Unfortunately, due to industrialisation, medical advances, and a growing reliance on modern healthcare, much of our ancient wisdom about nature’s array of medicines, has been lost.
Of course, modern medicine definitely has its place, but I still believe that herbal treatments have an important role to play – and in many cases, they may work just as well (if not better) than their patented pharmaceutical counterparts.
Today, I’m kicking off a new series on my blog about the healing properties of plants – so let’s begin by taking a look at one of my favourite herbal medicines, Echinacea.
Echinacea is a beautiful plant, with flamboyant pink blooms – however, it’s the root of the plant, not the flowers, which is normally used medicinally.
The root contains a mixture of oils, sugars and resins which have powerful antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
Because of this, Echinacea has long been used for treating the symptoms of the common cold, as well as influenza and upper respiratory tract infections.
Echinacea is especially good at supporting the immune system, and it has been shown to increase the rate at which the body responds to pathogens.
Because Echinacea strengthens the immune system, it can also be helpful for those who are immunocompromised. (If you’re immunocompromised, have an autoimmune disorder or a progressive illness, you should always check with your doctor first, before taking Echinacea.)
Echinacea is ideally taken before (or soon after) the first symptoms of a cold, flu or bronchitis appear – although it can be taken throughout the duration of the illness.
It may be drunk as a tea, used as a tincture or throat spray, or taken via chewable tablets, regular tablets, lozenges or capsules.
Personally, I love drinking Echinacea tea during flu season, and I always make sure to use the tincture, whenever I’m at risk of catching a cough or a cold.
As someone whose immune system is less than perfect, I find this really makes a difference in warding off the dreaded lurgy!
Please note: The information in this post should not substitute or replace medical advice. If you are unwell please see a medical professional. This post contains affiliate links.