Trust in the Power of Nature
To most people, echinacea conjures up a herbal remedy for colds and ‘flu – a vital boost to the immune system or a piece of harmless quackery. For gardeners, however, Echinacea purpurea is a versatile herbaceous perennial with handsome, long-lasting flowers. It is sturdy and self-supporting, hardy, easy to grow, undemanding, suitable both for the formal border and the meadow look.
North American Indians passed the knowledge of the purple coneflower on to the colonists and settlers of North America. Echinacea became a famed remedy for snake bite and for cleansing and healing suppurating wounds.
It is a well held belief that our friend the echinacea plant will ward off infection and various studies have proven this to be the case. This included a test carried out by the European Medicines Agency.
- Common Names
- Echinacea , Purple coneflower
- Botanical Name
- Echinacea angustifolia
Growing Echinacea – Gardening Basics
Handsome, long-lasting flowers, sturdy and self-supporting, hardy, easy to grow, undemanding, suitable both for the formal border and the meadow/wildflower look, or informal cottage garden. It has large, daisy-like flowers with and large, coppery-orange central cones
Popular in “prairie gardens”.
Resistant to deer and drought, and will tolerate clay soils, dry soils and shallow, rocky soils, as well has heat and humidity. Attracts butterflies, and if flowers are not dead-headed, will attract seed-eating birds
Echinacea is a flowering herb / flower perennial, it will last at least up to several years in its native climate.
Normally reaching to a mature height of 2.60 feet (80.0 cm). Expect blooming to occur in late summer.
UK – purchase seeds
US – purchase seed
Important Growing Information:
DAYS TO GERMINATION: Needs light to germinate. Do not cover. Will germinate in spring when it warms.
SOWING:Plant in Fall.. so seeds will freeze and break their shell.
LIGHT PREFERENCE: Full sun to partial sun.
SOIL REQUIREMENTS: rich sandy or clay soil. not damp. will tolerate dry soil, do not fertilize. This will cause a leggy droopy plant.
HARDINESS ZONE: 3 – 8
As a cut flower it has to be one of the greats. It lasts well in the vase and is a great late summer entrant to the games. Try it with Black Eyed Susan.
Medicinal Uses & Benefits of Echinacea
- Medicinal Uses: * Candida/yeast * Colds * Ear * Immune * Insect/flea Bites * Sinus * Sore Throat
- Properties: * Anti-inflammatory * Antibacterial * AntiViral * Depurative * emetic * Immunostimulant
- Parts Used: Most often roots, stems and flowers are also used but are weaker
- Constituents: essential oil (including humulene and caryophylene), glycoside, polysaccharide, polyacetylenes, isobutylalklamines, resin, betaine, inulin, sesquiterpene.
Herbalists do not agree on which species is best, E.purpurea,, E. pallida, orE.angustifolia, but all variants have phytochemicals that improve the immune system. There are dozens of dozens of biochemical compounds that act in therapeutic synergy in this complex plant that support disease resistance in several ways. However, taking echinacea when a cold or infection has already become serious may be fighting a losing battle. Echinacea is most effect when taken at the first onset of cold, sinus, gum inflammation or other infection symptoms.
Echinacea has a numbing sensation that relieves the pain of cold sores, and also offers some protection against herpes simplex viruses. Echinacea acts against Candida albicans, the microorganism that causes most yeast infection. Echinacea is a mild antiseptic on its own, but when fighting an established virus, combining echinacea with antiseptic herbs such as goldenseal or Oregon grape enhances the effectiveness of the treatment.
A few drops of echinacea tincture or a skin wash made from fresh flowers in a quick and effective way to reduce itching and take the sting out of insect bites and hives.
Preparation Methods & Dosage :Dosage is key. You need to take enough echinacea, and take it frequently enough, to do any good. Capsules are convenient, but not as efficient, and quite often not as potent as tinctures. Echinacea is by no means a good tasting herb for tea, but echinacea tea can be used in compresses and poultices for external application
Echinacea Side Effects: Use with caution if you are allergic to ragweed. If you have an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, or a chronic infection such as HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis, you should not use echinacea.
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
Herbal Preparations and research: https://theherbarium.wordpress.com