Winter is the peak time for other viruses which trigger respiratory infections, including the common cold, the flu and many others, though Coronavirus is probably the most noteworthy virus this year. Before pondering over Echinacea benefits, uses and side effects, let’s shed some light on the facts that are there in background.
Human beings have sought for natural and herbal treatments for these diseases for decades. Echinacea is placed at the top of the ranking. As per the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, this herb, also recognized as the purple coneflower, coneflower and American coneflower, was utilized as a traditional medicine by Native Americans of the Great Plains.
What is Echinacea?
Latin names such as Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea pallida go to Echinacea, a representative of the daisy family. There are nine recognized varieties of Echinacea, all of which are native to North America and many of which, because of their vibrant and appealing flowers, are known to gardeners.
As per the NCCIH, E. purpurea, E. pallida and E. angustifolia are the species most commonly used in dietary supplements. Craig Hopp, Deputy Director of the Extramural Research Division at NCCIH, says, “Echinacea is somewhat unique in that there are three separate species that all go by the common name Echinacea, but may have different activity profiles.”
As for as Echinacea for colds and flu, and other respiratory infections is concerned, Echinacea is marketed as a dietary supplement since it is thought to activate the immune system to combat these infections more effectively. Thus, benefits of Echinacea for immune system are also there.
In topical treatments through Echinacea for skin and wounds, its formulations have also been used, but they are mostly used for immune-boosting capabilities against colds.
But the science behind that belief is questionable. “Taking Echinacea might slightly reduce your chances of catching a cold. There isn’t enough evidence to show whether Echinacea is helpful for other health conditions,” Hopp states.
As per the NCCIH, certain formulations of Echinacea are more beneficial for treating colds than placebo. While several experiments have been performed on Echinacea for colds and other infections of the upper respiratory tract, the conclusive proof is poor for clinically specific treatment results. Individual studies frequently illustrate favorable but not substantial patterns, and the NCCIH states that “potential effects are of questionable clinical relevance.”
Dr. Bianca Chiara, a family medicine doctor accredited by the Institute for Functional Medicine who works at the Chambers Center for Well-Being, part of the Atlantic Health System in Morristown, New Jersey, claims the reason for this may be that research on most herbal remedies, particularly Echinacea, appear to be extremely variable.
Multiple specific cell studies have revealed that a single brand of Echinacea supplement has enhanced immune response and antiviral function – one of the major Echinacea benefits, and a few of the biochemicals that could be accounted for this have been teased out. A 2016 research indicates that the usage Echinacea for immunity within the Echinacea plant can rely on the kinds and quantities of bacteria. Chiara states the consequences can come from any number of “constituents”. “We definitely don’t know all the active constituents in Echinacea.”
Health Benefits of Echinacea
To date, science has done many experiments and studies focusing on the Echinacea benefits for human beings. Let’s look at the available benefits of Echinacea you can have.
♥ Echinacea for Immune System
Several studies have shown that this plant can help the immune system battle diseases and viruses, which can help you heal from illness more easily. That’s one explanation why Echinacea is sometimes used for common cold prevention or treatment.
In reality, an analysis of 14 studies showed that Echinacea could reduce the risk of colds by more than 50% and lessen the period of colds by one and a half days. Many experiments on this subject, nevertheless, are poorly planned and do not show any actual advantage. This makes it difficult to grasp whether taking Echinacea or merely by chance is an advantage for colds. In short, its effects on the common cold are unknown, whereas benefits of Echinacea for immunity are there.
♥ Echinacea for Blood Sugar Levels
Your threat of severe health conditions can be increased by high blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many other chronic diseases are involved in this. Test-tube studies have shown that plants with Echinacea can help to lower blood sugar levels.
An Echinacea purpurea extract has been found in a test-tube analysis to eliminate enzymes that digest carbohydrates. If ingested, this will decrease the amount of sugar accessing your blood. Other test tube experiments have shown that Echinacea extracts make cells more susceptible to the influence of insulin by stimulating the PPAR-y receptor, a common diabetes drug target.
This unique receptor functions by eliminating excess blood fat, which is an insulin susceptibility risk factor. This facilitates the response of cells to insulin and sugar. Today, there is a shortage of human-based studies into the impact of Echinacea on blood sugar.
♥ Echinacea for Anxiety
Echinacea benefits also encompass the capability of dealing with the feelings of anxiety. Echinacea species have appeared as a possible support for anxiety in recent times.
Study has found that compounds contained in Echinacea plants can decrease feelings of anxiety. These contain alkamides, caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid.
Three out of five samples of Echinacea helped alleviate anxiety in one mouse study. Moreover, contrary to the higher doses of standard therapies, they did not make the mice less healthy.
Another research showed that the extraction of Echinacea angustifolia quickly decreased anxiety in mice and humans.
As of now, nevertheless, only a handful of findings exist on Echinacea and anxiety. Before Echinacea products can be suggested as a potential treatment, further research is required.
♥ Echinacea for Skin
On the part of Echinacea benefits for skin, study has indicated that plants with Echinacea can help to treat common skin problems which, undoubtedly, belong to Echinacea benefits. Scientists identified in a test tube analysis that the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of Echinacea inhibited the growth of Propionibacterium, a widespread trigger of acne.
In another research, skin care products incorporating Echinacea extract were reported to enhance skin hydration and minimize wrinkles in 10 healthy individuals aged 25-40 years. A cream comprising Echinacea purpurea extract has also been shown to relieve the symptoms of eczema and to help heal the thin, protective outer layer of the skin. Echinacea extract, nevertheless, tends to have a limited shelf life, making it hard to introduce into consumer products for skin care.
♥ Echinacea for Cancer
Cancer is a disorder involving the unregulated development of cells. Test-tube research has shown that uses of Echinacea extracts can inhibit the development of cancer cells and even cause cancer cell death. An extract of Echinacea purpurea and chicory acid (naturally present in Echinacea plants) was recognized to cause cancer cell death in one test tube sample.
In another test-tube analysis, by inducing a mechanism called apoptosis or regulated cell death, extracts from Echinacea plants (Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea pallida) destroyed human cancer cells from the pancreas and colon. This impact is thought to occur because of the immune-boosting properties of Echinacea.
A doubt that Echinacea could interfere with standard treatments for cancer was there, such as doxorubicin, but still no interference was observed in newer researches.
♥ Reduce Excess Inflammation
Limiting the excessive inflammation is another one of the Echinacea benefits. Inflammation is the typical way for the body to facilitate healing & to protect itself. Inflammation may often get out of control and stay longer than is appropriate and planned. This can increase the threat of chronic illnesses and other health issues.
Several findings have confirmed that excessive inflammation can be decreased by Echinacea. Echinacea compounds helped lower major inflammatory triggers and memory loss caused by inflammation in a mouse experiment.
Grownups with osteoarthritis noticed that taking a supplement containing Echinacea extract substantially decreased inflammation, chronic pain and swelling in another 30-day research. Intriguingly, these grownups did not react well to traditional non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), however the Echinacea extract supplement was found to be beneficial.
Echinacea Side Effects
Echinacea stuff tends to be healthy and well for short-term consumption. In addition to the Echinacea benefits, there have been situations where adverse effects have been encountered by individuals
- Itchy skin
- Stomach pain
- Shortness of breath
Nevertheless, among individuals with allergies to many other flowers, such as daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds, ragweed and more, these side effects of Echinacea are more prevalent.
Individuals with autoimmune disorders or people taking immunosuppressive drugs should stop it or consult their physicians first, as Echinacea tends to boost the immune system. On the part of the notion “what is Echinacea good for”, it seems to be safe for short-term consumption, it still has largely unknown long-term consequences.
Echinacea Dosage Recommendations
None approved Echinacea dosage recommendations is presently available. One explanation is that the results from studies on Echinacea are extremely variable. In fact, products containing Echinacea can always not include what is written on the bottle. On the part of Echinacea uses, one analysis noticed that 10 percent of samples of Echinacea products contained no Echinacea.
This is why Echinacea goods should be purchased from reputable companies. The subsequent dosage of Echinacea were found to be successful in aiding immunity by study.
- Dry powdered extract: 300–500 mg of Echinacea purpurea, three times daily.
- Liquid extract tinctures: 2.5 ml, three times daily, or up to 10 ml daily.
It’s best to follow the guidelines that come with your particular supplement, nevertheless. Bear in mind that these Echinacea benefits and guidelines are for short-term utilization, since there are still largely unidentified long-term consequences of Echinacea on the body.