|Echinacea has been used traditionally to treat a variety of conditions
ranging from infections to colds and sore throats. Recent research has
confirmed that echinacea does indeed stimulate the immune system.
Clinical studies show that the herb's phytochemical compounds
stimulate white blood cells and lymphocytes to attack infected areas
and destroy invading organisms. The herb can also enhance the
movement of white blood cells into the area of infection. One clinical
study done in 1996 involved 1,280 children who had bronchitis. The
children treated with the juice of Echinacea recovered faster than
those treated with an antibiotic.
Echinacea is also valuable for its antiviral properties. Studies have
demonstrated that echinacea inhibits various types of viruses, including
influenza, herpes and vesicular stomatitis virus. The herb works by
blocking virus receptors on the cell surface and inhibits production of
the enzyme that allows virus cells to spread and invade. In 1992, a
study was done looking at the effects of echinacea on colds and flu.
The study involved more than 100 patients who were suffering from
cold and flu symptoms. For eight weeks, half the patients received
echinacea supplements and the other half received a placebo. Of those
taking echinacea, 35 percent remained healthy the entire eight weeks.
The length of time between infections for the echinacea group was
nearly 40 percent longer than the echinacea group. Patients taking
echinacea who did get sick were sick for a shorter time and
experienced less severe symptoms than patients on the placebo.
|Boost your immune system with Echinacea||As the world constantly searches for better, safer and less expensive
ways to promote good health, echinacea has become a gold mine.
Thousands of years of traditional use, combined with current research,
indicates that echinacea possesses considerable immunostimulatory
properties. Commonly known as purple coneflower, rudbeckia, Missouri
snakeroot, and red sunflower, echinacea is one of the primary natural
remedies for assisting the body rid itself of microbial infections.
Echinacea is known to have natural antibiotic actions, and is often
effective against both bacterial and viral infections, and may be used in
alliance with other herbs to fight infection anywhere in the body. In
addition, Echinacea works to boost lymphatic cleansing of the blood,
enhance the immune system and has cortisone-like properties which
contribute to its anti-inflammatory action. It is also recommended for
stubborn viral infections, yeast infections and for arthritic conditions.
|Recent Research||Much research is focusing upon this plant, providing important insights
into its activity and potential uses. Laboratory tests have found that
compounds contained in echinacea have the ability to rearrange and
recognize enzyme patterns in the body. The ability of this herb to boost
immune function deals with thymus gland stimulation. It can actually
stimulate the production and action of interferon. Research suggests
that the echinacosides glycosides appear to be primary anti-microbial
constituents in echinacea. However there are many other biologically
active substances present, and there is evidence that they work
synergistically. The polysaccharides, for example, possess the best
immune stimulating properties and are also antiviral. Other constituents
have been shown to possess anti-tumor, bacteriostatic, and anesthetic