Echinacea

echinacea

Botanical Name: Echinacea Augustifolia & Echinacea Purpurea | Family: Compositae

Common name(s): Purple Coneflower

GROWING

  • Perennial; herbaceous | zones 3-9 | 2-4 feet (Purperea is taller) | pinkish purple flowers from mid to late summer.
  • Stratify seeds for at least 3 months if starting indoors. Seeds germination rate = 50%; seedlings take 2-6 weeks to sprout. Echinacea grows in clumps; space 12 inches apart.
  • Grows in wide-open, grassy areas.
  • Full sun. E. Augustifloria requires poorer, dryer soil; E. Purperea requires richer soil and regular watering.

HARVESTING

  • Harvest the root in the fall or spring when they are 2 1/2 – 3 years old. E. Augustifloria is easier to harvest.
  • To use the whole plant, gather roots in the spring, young buds when the flower starts to bloom, some full flowers later in the season, and the root in the late fall.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE

Decoction: Bring 1-2 teaspoons or the root in 1 cup of water to a boil. Let simmer 10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day.

Tincture: A whole plant tincture is more effective. Begin the tincture with leaves, then add the other parts as you harvest them, adding more alchohol as you go along. After you add the roots, let the tincture steep for 3 – 4 weeks. If making a tincture from dried roots, use E. Augustifloria. And leave it in the tincture for up to a year, because it will keep getting stronger. Use 1 dropperful (which looks like a half dropper) for every 50 pounds of weight. The dose can be taken as close as 1 hour apart when in crises, every 3-4 hours or more when not. 3x/day is more standard. It can be taken for as long as necessary when fighting infection.

MEDICAL

Constituents: volatile oil, glycoside, echinaceine phenolics

Actions: alterative, antimicrobial/

Uses: bacterial and viral infections, especially respiratory infections

Combinations: combines well with many herbs. For cystitis a combination with yarrow and bearberry is effective.

SOURCES 


I got some echinacea root (3-year old plant) from a fellow herbalist and made a tincture, left a few roots in the fridge that I chewed on, and dried a little bit of it so I can experiment with the differences. It is my understanding that a tincture is the most effective. I read someplace that you could tell if the echinacea was effective if it made your mouth tingle. The tincture I made – and shared with people at Christmastime – does just that. I made a few different tinctures this year, but I feel like this and my black birch tinctures are my first “medicine.” 

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