We’ve been workin’ on Autumn even though Autumn’s not here yet. : ) Summer’s about to wind down and that means with the return of Fall weather will also come cold and flu season. We’ve been gearing up for it by preparing the humungous heap of Echinacea (echinacea angustifolia) we wildcrafted a couple months ago. It was drying in our workroom for some time, and we’ve now crunched and chopped it up, and run it through a blender.
The ability of this herb to boost the immune system is very real, and has been extensively researched and documented down the years. For our family, this stuff has been amazing! We’ve used it for years in getting through cold and flu season and other illnesses. We’ve found the most effective time to use it is when you first begin to feel the signs of a cold or the flu, sore throat, infection, or whatever else coming on. Start taking it then, and be diligent about it, and you can often head off that illness at the pass and not even get sick. I myself have had this happen many times. And if you miss the chance to head it off at the pass, team up Echinacea with some Vitamin C and it can still shorten the length of the sickness.
I had my first cup from this batch of Ech Tea (as our family calls it) a couple days ago. It was delicious! Our kids loved it when they were little and still do now that they’re grown. It leaves a little tingling sensation in the mouth. Not exactly like a soda would, but a l’il bit. It’s very pleasant. : ) And while a cup of tea is helpful to strengthen the immune system before you get sick, when you’re in the midst of an illness or feel one coming on, using Echinacea Tea in an infusion is even stronger and better.
An infusion is simply a stronger tea that’s allowed to steep for a much longer time. We put 2 ounces or so (1/4-1/3 cup) into a quart mason jar and fill it up with almost boiling water, cover it, and allow to steep for a couple hours or more. Then we sweeten it and drink it 3-4 times a day to keep the herb in our system at all times (just as one would use a prescribed antibiotic).
We’re including a list of sources below to get you started on researching Echinacea for yourself, if you like. But here are a few conditions that Echinacea has been shown to benefit:
Colds and flus
Reducing sore throat pain or enlarged lymph glands
Skin infections such as acne and boils
Aiding in healing of skin conditions such as eczema or inflammation (when used externally)
Urinary tract infections
Fighting infections in general
Speeding wound healing (when used externally)
Killing germs and reducing pain from external injuries
And here are a few things to keep in mind about Echinacea:
*It’s recommended not to use it more than 1-2 months at a time, as it diminishes in it’s ability to enhance the immune system after that. So give your body a break after each illness.
*People who are allergic to ragweed or other plants in the aster family may be sensitive to echinacea.
*Folks with an autoimmune disorder such as multiple sclerosis or lupus should not use echinacea because their ailments might be aggravated by further boosting their immune systems. The same is true of those who are HIV positive.
*If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, nursing or taking medication for a health problem check with your health care provider.
Next week we’ll talk about Echinacea Tincture! : )
The purpose of Jordan’s Crossing Herbal Connections is to promote the sharing of information about healthy, natural products and dietary supplements. JCHC’s views and opinions are INFORMATIONAL ONLY and are not intended to constitute medical advice. If you are sick, injured or pregnant, please consult a licensed health care professional.