by Faye Sakellaridis
Echinacea is hailed as a powerful, natural home treatment for colds and flus. Once a staple in traditional Native American healthcare, echinacea has been recently proven to inactivate many strains of influenza, including H1N1. So why is it that this so-called ultimate cold and flu treatment ends up being a disappointment to those who turn to it during the wintry, germ-ridden seasons?
Herbal blogger Faith of Nourishing Herbalist takes this dilemma to task by examining where many go astray when it comes to echinacea, and offering tips on how to reap the full benefits of this powerful herb.
For instance, nine species of echinacea, only three of which are recognized for medicinal use. The most effective of the three is debated by herbalists (Stephen Buhner gives his vote to E. angustifolia as the most effective against influenza), but ultimately, the answer depends on the individual.
Another common misstep Faith points out occurs in the manner in which people consume it. It's best to eschew capsules, which don't allow for the plant to be absorbed into the bloodstream:
Brimming with sage advice, Faith further explains how understanding the anatomy of echinacea plants is a useful guide, the importance of timing, herbs to pair echinacea with for added support, and more. Read it here.