Not just a cold remedy

Echinacea's Many Uses

Echinacea is a plant indigenous to the American Midwest, used by Native Americans for centuries. In modern times, echinacea has become popular as a dietary supplement due to its purported immune system-boosting qualities.

Purple cone flower with colorful butterfly

Echinacea in Native American Culture and Traditions

Echinacea was used by Native Americans in various ways for several centuries before it began attracting attention outside its native habitat. Echinacea is a plant that has been used for health, medicinal, and spiritual purposes by many Native American tribes around North America.

The Omaha tribe called echinacea "the purple coneflower" or "the great purple healing", putting it on cuts and sores, chewing the root for toothaches, and even eating it fresh in times of famine. Many Native Americans used the root of the purple coneflower to treat infections of all kinds, including sore throats, wounds, insect bites, stings, boils, ulcers of all types. Some tribes boiled the root for tea and used it to treat fevers and colds. 

For the Lakota Indians, the purple coneflower was a symbol of healing, and they named it "the purifier." Believing that if someone was sick or wounded, lying on top of the flower could cure them. The Plains Indians used the root of the purple coneflower to help revive people who had been underwater too long. They believed that a person would not be able to drown if the root was carried with them. Plains Indians also recognized the purple coneflower as a symbol of purity, using it in ceremonies involving children to drive away evil spirits.

night time view of dark sky and stars in a forested area

What is Echinacea?

Echinacea is a flowering plant in the daisy family, and it's often used to relieve cold symptoms. It has been used as an herbal remedy for other ailments such as hay fever, asthma, bronchitis, acne, and eczema. One of the main constituents of echinacea is cichoric acid, which gives this plant its unique flavor profile. Echinacea has many benefits, including easing respiratory issues like asthma and bronchitis while offering relief from cold symptoms like congestion and sore throat. People commonly use echinacea for medicinal purposes by drinking tea made with dried or fresh leaves or smoking it. 

How does echinacea stimulate the immune system?

Echinacea is a popular herbal remedy used to cure everything from the common cold to the flu. Despite its popularity as an immune-boosting herbal remedy, taken every day for this benefit, many people don't know how echinacea stimulates the immune system in healthy people. Echinacea contains a chemical called alkylamide that stimulates specific cells in the immune system called T-cells that attack foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. This means that echinacea can support the body through sickness and as a preventative medicine.

view of still water in winter setting with snow on the ground

What is Echinacea good for?

Echinacea is great for curing colds, fevers, flu symptoms, and other infections. Echinacea affects your body by activating macrophages and increasing T-cell activity. T-cells are white blood cells that seek out viruses and kill them, so increasing T-cell activity has a direct impact on your immune system. Taking echinacea every day can protect you from colds and flu in the future. 

Effects and uses

Its most common use is herbal medicine, but it can be used to make tea or be chewed and eaten. When echinacea is taken by mouth or applied to the skin, some people feel nothing. Others have reported mild side effects like headaches, upset stomach, muscle pain, tiredness, and an irritated tongue. 

Some of these effects are mild and short-lasting, while others may take longer to develop. Taking echinacea every day for several months has improved the body's resistance in some people.

Echinacea benefits for skin

Echinacea extract helps the body fight bacterial infections and prevents swelling after an injury or surgery. It can also help reduce scarring, improve healing, and make wounds and sores feel less painful and itchy. You can apply echinacea directly to the skin, making it a potentially beneficial ingredient in certain cosmetics and topical medications.

The benefit of applying echinacea to the skin is that it is directly absorbed into the bloodstream and can help fight infections. It is very important to note that you should not take echinacea orally while using it topically. Your skin will absorb more of the herb than intended if both are applied at the same time.

Echinacea herbs and tea with purple cone flower

What does Echinacea heal

People use echinacea when they have colds to help their bodies stave off the illness or after being exposed to someone who was sick. Echinacea also reduces the duration of a cold by one or two days if taken when symptoms first appear.

Echinacea works by stimulating the activity of macrophages in a process called phagocytosis, and it is the body's way of protecting itself against bacteria and viruses. Echinacea also functions as an antioxidant, and it may protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Some people believe that taking echinacea stimulates the immune system by forcing the body to respond to infection more quickly than it usually would.

How to take Echinacea

The most common way to use echinacea is by making it into tea or tinctures. But, you can also make it into syrup, capsules, ointment, or smoke it.

Is Echinacea scientifically proven?

In the 1970s, an experimental trial was set up to objectively measure echinacea's effect on cold symptoms with surprising results. Participants taking the herb were found to suffer from milder symptoms and recover faster than those taking a placebo. Despite numerous other studies highlighting similar results, the efficacy of echinacea remains a contentious issue, and some studies have found no correlation between the herb and cold symptoms.

What are the side effects of taking Echinacea

Side effects of echinacea may include:
-Inflammation of mucous membranes and skin, if taken orally.

If echinacea is taken orally in large quantities, it may lead to mental confusion, hallucinations, and convulsions, and if very high doses, can result in death. The same symptoms can be experienced if the root is chewed while one is under the effects of alcohol. If you experience any of the above symptoms after taking echinacea, stop intake immediately and consult your doctor.

Echinacea and hemp cigarettes

Hemp cigarettes have been used for centuries in many different cultures because of hemp's inherent health benefits. Hemp has very low nicotine content because it is not a part of the tobacco family, making hemp cigarettes a frequent alternative to tobacco for people trying to quit smoking or looking to reduce their health risks. Echinacea can be included in herbal cigarette blends, like the ones Soje expertly crafts, to give smokers the herb’s immune-boosting properties.

Echinacea has many positive health benefits for certain people who use it in moderation. Still, like any other form of medicine or alternative treatment, there is always a risk of adverse side effects.

Echinacea is a plant that's been used for centuries as an herbal remedy. It has many uses and can help with allergies, cold symptoms, immune system support, and more. Hemp cigarettes are the cannabis alternative to nicotine cigarettes which also have plenty of health benefits such as helping people quit smoking tobacco products or reducing their intake level of nicotine addiction.