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By Karen Morris

Echinacea purpurea, commonly known as purple coneflower, is a medicinal wildflower native to the open woods and grasslands of the Central United States.

This perennial herb produces large purple daisy-like flowers with an interesting central cone shaped disc. The flowers are produced on branching stems, reaching 150cm in height and can be picked as a cut flower.

The Native American people traditionally used Echinacea for treatment for coughs, wounds and snakebites. Early settlers and their Doctors also began using Echinacea as an infection fighter. Today it is still one of the best known herbs for fighting infection and immune system support and is available in a wide variety of preparations.

Three main varieties of Echinacea are used medicinally, Echinacea purpurea being the most commonly known. The whole plant is able to be used medicinally although root preparations are known to have the greatest therapeutic benefit and efficacy.

Echinacea assists to strengthen and balance the immune system, enhance immune response, resist and fight bacterial, fungal and viral infections and inflammations and assist with wound healing. It contains vitamins and minerals supportive to the immune system including vitamins A, C, E and minerals iron, iodine, copper, potassium and sulphur. It is used for a wide range of disorders including skin conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, urinary system disorders, prevention and treatment of upper respiratory infections including colds and flu’s, and to assist those with weakened immunity.

Echinacea is a safe and reliable herb that as an Herbalist, I always have on hand and have used extensively with people of all ages with great results.