Echinacea, also called purple coneflower, is one of the most popular herbs worldwide.
Native Americans have used it for centuries to treat various ailments.
Today, it’s best known as an over-the-counter herbal remedy for the common cold or flu. However, it’s also used to treat pain, inflammation, migraines and other health issues.
The plant itself, contains an impressive variety of active immune boosting compounds, such as caffeic acid, alkamides, phenolic acids, rosmarinic acid, polyacetylenes and many more. These plant compounds seem to function mostly as antioxidants within our body once consumed.
Antioxidants are molecules that help defend your cells against oxidative stress, a state that has been linked to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and many others.
Some of these antioxidants are the powerful flavonoids, cichoric acid and rosmarinic acid.
These particular antioxidants appear to be higher in extracts from the fruit and flowers of the plants, compared to other parts, such as the leaves and root.
Effects on the immune system
Echinacea is best known for its beneficial effects on the immune system.
Numerous studies have found that this plant may help your immune system combat infections and viruses, which could help you recover faster from illnesses like the common cold and the flu.
There have been 14 recent studies shown in that last few years, that by taking echinacea as a supplement daily, you can lower the risk of developing colds by more than 50% and shorten the duration of colds by one and a half days.
In conjunction with this herbs amazing immune boosting qualities it also functions as a powerful anti-inflammatory which could assist in pain relief.
Several studies have shown that echinacea can help reduce excess inflammation.
In a mouse study, echinacea compounds helped reduce important inflammatory markers and memory-loss caused by inflammation.
I can even go as far to say in my research, that echinacea can help offer protection against certain cancers. Test-tube studies have shown that echinacea extracts may suppress cancer cell growth and even trigger cancer cell death.
What you can take away from all of this is that echinacea has been shown to vastly improve your immune systems well-being with strong and uplifting effects noted widely across the planet. So my recommendation would be to go out and get some as the winter months close in and keep yourself free of viruses and bugs.