Echinacea Purpurea (Echinacea spp) part of the Asteraceae species, also known as purple coneflower, has been used in herbal medicine as a remedy for cold, flu, coughs, psoriasis, and eczema as well as treatment for other non-integumentary health concerns such as pain, migraines – not to mention for the purpose of eliminating toxins, and inflammation.
Echinacea is an immune strengthener that can decrease inflammation in the body and can help shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms. It is known that 70% of our immune system, specifically IgA, lies within the gut - therefore, by including herbs such as Echinacea into our routine we are working to help support the gut which is the key to healing acne and eczema prone skin.
Above said, by incorporating Echinacea in our protocol, we are boosting the body’s overall immunity and thus, building the body’s resilience to infections.
Medicinally, three out of nine know Echinacea species are used in herbal and allopathic medicine:
- E. angustifolia
- E. purpurea, and
- E. pallida
Immune System: Majority of the scientific research relating to Echinacea has been carried out in relation to E. purpurea and its effects on the immune system. Research has proven that Echinacea helps increase white blood cell count, and their strength of action, via the herb’s key constituents; Polysaccharides and Alkylamides.
Above said, herbalists usually prescribe Echinacea when an underperforming immune system is detected.
Integumentary System: Research has shown that Echinacea is beneficial for many skin conditions such as eczema and antiaging. However, the most striking research has illustrated that E. purpurea can reverse bacterial-induced inflammation by lowering, and normalising cytokine levels via the herb’s therapeutic actions highlighted below.
- Endocrine System: Vivo experiments, administered with therapeutic levels of Echinacea over a 7-week duration illustrated an improvement in hypercalcemia levels, and insulin resistance. Trials have also confirmed increased sperm quality and DNA integrity. Thus, Echinacea has proven to be an effective treatment for diabetes-induced male reproductive dysfunction.
- Caffeic acid esters
- Wound healing
- Stimulates saliva
- Improves diabetes-induces male infertility
Studies show Echinacea boosts your skin’s own moisturizing properties by increasing levels of epidermal lipids, ceramides, and cholesterol. Combined, these benefits keep your skin’s protective outer layer strong, meaning less moisture can escape over time.
Echinacea can be found in skincare products and studies show that it can help brighten the skin and boost collagen production which is great for anti-ageing too.
Echinacea root and arial plant can be found in herbal teas, tinctures, extracts, and juices - it is also available in supplement form, usually via oral transmission. Having said that, as practitioners we recommend By Firdous® HEALTH New Innovations; transdermal, Immune BOOST patches, purely as an alternate route of transmission.
These work by applying the adhesive patch onto the skin so that the nutrients work via the dermal layer, by-passing digestion, straight into the bloodstream for a more effective absorption. For this reason alone, this makes a great alternative to those that need to, and/or would avoid oral transmission, such as those with dysphagia, or malabsorption issues, or those who just purely do not wish to take oral supplements.
When working with clients regarding skin concerns, it is considered best practice to help boost the immune system during the initial stages as this really does help with gut healing.
In Western medicine, Echinacea is a highly sought treatment for several health concerns, commonly both viral, and fungal infections, and skin infections such as boils, and acne.
Where hormonal related acne is confirmed, in both men and women, combining Echinacea with Chaste Tree (Vitex angus-castus) has shown to reduce frequency and severity. Therefore, in our clinic, herbs such as Echinacea play a huge role in this process.
Further more, there has been several studies confirming that Echinacea is a successful treatment for opportunistic infections such as for Candida albicans. In such a case our preferred product of choice containing therapeutic levels of Echinacea as part of a synergistic protocol, is New Roots Herbal; Candisan - which offers anti-fungal, antibiotic, antioxidant and strengthening benefits to fight off Candidiasis.
Echinacea is usually well tolerated over short-term use. However, long-term use, and those with allergies associated with Asteraceae species such as daises, marigolds, ragweed, etc may produce the following side-effects:
- Itchy skin
- Stomach pain
- Shortness of breath
As Echinacea is immunostimulatory, those taking immunosuppressants drugs, and those with an autoimmune disease should consult their medical practitioner before administration.
*integumentary system pertaining to skin health
The Journal of Allergies and Clinical Immunology; S270, January 01, 2007
Encyclopaedia Of Herbal Medicine. (3rd Ed). pp. 92, 151 (Chevallier, 2016 )
Blog written by;
Ayesha Gambhir rCNHC Dip.CNM, and Firdous Sultan.
Blog edited and published by;
Firdous Sultan, Founder. A. MSc.rCMA. Dip.CNM