Health Benefits And Uses For Echinacea

Echinacea is an herb sometimes used as a health supplement for a variety of different purposes. It can be found in the areas eastward of the Rocky Mountain range in the United States. Some western states also have climates that can support the herb, though it's not usually native to these areas. There are also areas of Europe and Canada that grow the plant. Multiple species of echinacea exist, and traditional herbal remedies utilize the root, flower, and leaves. Echinacea has a history of being used in herbal remedies by Native American tribes in the Great Plains. After the discovery of antibiotics, the herb was used less often, though some individuals are interested in the benefits of echinacea against certain bacteria.

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Reduce Common Cold Symptoms

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There is some scientific evidence indicating echinacea is capable of reducing the symptoms of the common cold. It's important to note this is not a cure for the common cold. Colds are caused by a rhinovirus, which is a type of viral infection. Unlike bacterial infections, viral infections can't be fought off by antibiotics or other modern medicines, and they just have to run their course through the body. No herbal supplements have been proven to kill viruses, including echinacea. It's also uncertain whether echinacea is capable of shortening the amount of time the virus stays in an individual's system. If it does, it's because it helps reduce symptoms well enough for the immune system to focus the body's energy on getting rid of the virus instead of managing the symptoms. Several studies have documented evidence indicating echinacea products may reduce common cold symptoms on a mild to moderate scale in children twelve years old or older and adults. But because different studies have used different parts of the plant, different preparation methods, and different dosages, there's no one recommended intake level.

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Katherine MacAulay