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Echinacea is a well known natural remedy that is mainly used for the treatment of colds and flu.  It is a great infection fighter and natural antibiotic.  Read on to learn more about its benefits.

What is Echinacea?

EchinaceaEchinacea is an herbal medicine that is best known for boosting the immune system.  It is also effective for many other things.  Echinacea stimulates the immune functions and promotes T-cell activation.  It helps the body’s white cells to attack the viruses and bacteria that lead to illness or infection.  Research has also found Echinacea to be effective as an antiviral or antifungal.

What can Echinacea be used for?

Echinacea is most famous for its use for colds, coughs, flu and other respiratory conditions but it can also be used for:

• enlarged lymph glands
• sore throat
• urinary tract infections
• other minor infections
• may help with herpes and candida
• wounds, skin regeneration and skin infections when used externally
• psoriasis, eczema treatments, and inflammatory skin conditions when used externally
• promoting healing
• strengthening the immune system
• ear aches
• lymph gland problems

When used for colds and flu, studies have shown that Echinacea has effectively reduced the symptoms and duration of the cold or flu.  It will not stop you from catching the cold or flu, but if you take it as soon as you feel the symptoms coming on, it will be much less painful for you.

How Should Echinacea be taken?

Echinacea supplements are available in capsules that contain a powder made from the dried plant or root, as a tincture, in lozenges, extracts, and pills.  In some cases, people may drink the pressed juice from fresh plants.  If Echinacea is being used to treat skin conditions, preparations containing pressed juice are used.

Echinacea is at its most effective when it is used aggressively – that is, a dose on an empty stomach every few hours.  It is even more effective if it is taken with vitamin C which also helps to fight infection.  In general, Echinacea should not be taken for more than 1-2 weeks at a time, as it can lose its effect over time.  Take Echinacea for 1-2 weeks, stop for 1 week and then take it for 1-2 weeks, and so on.  This can be a very helpful preventative strategy throughout the cold and flu season.


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