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EchinAce

EchinAce®

• Used to fight off colds, flu and infections, especially of the respiratory tract.

This product is comprised of St. Francis Herb Farm® Inc.’s special proprietary blend of Echinacea angustifolia root and Echinacea purpurea root, leaf and seed.

Echinacea angustifolia was the primary species valued medicinally by Native Americans. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Eclectic physicians relied on Echinacea angustifolia for its antiseptic powers to treat serious infections like sepsis and typhoid. Specifically, echinacea has proven effective in elevating white blood cell counts and has demonstrable antibacterial, antiviral, and antitumor qualities. Because it is antiviral, echinacea significantly reduces cold and flu symptoms, allowing them to be resolved more quickly.

Not only does echinacea have immune and anti-infective properties, but Eclectic physicians also class it as an alterativea. Herbalist Michael Tierra calls echinacea “the best herb for blood and lymph purification” , while Christopher Hobbs explains that echinacea “activates phagocytes to help clean wastes from the lymph.”

In the same vein as the Eclectics, classic British herbalist Mrs. M. Grieve notes that: “Echinacea increases bodily resistance to infection and is used for boils, erysipelas, septicaemia, cancer, syphilis and other impurities of the blood, its action being antiseptic. It has also useful properties as a strong alterative...”

From the 1950s through the 1980s, many studies (almost all of them German) concluded that echinacea has remarkable immune-stimulating and infection-fighting properties. By the 1990s, American researchers were studying the herb and coming to the same conclusion.”

As herbal botanist James Duke points out, “Echinacea increases levels of a chemical in the body called properdin, which activates the part of the immune system responsible for increasing defense mechanisms against viruses and bacteria... Echinacea fights viruses in two ways. It contains three compounds with specific antiviral activity—caffeic acid, chicoric acid and echinacin. Root extracts of echinacea have also been shown to act like interferon, the body’s own antiviral compound. In addition, echinacea is an immune stimulant that helps the body defend itself against viral infection more effectively.”

In his monograph on echinacea, herbalist David Hoffmann gives further words of praise about the effectiveness of this marvelous herb: “Clinical data support the use of echinacea in a variety of situations. It is indicated primarily for the prevention and treatment of acute infections, particularly colds, influenza, and other acute upper respiratory tract infections, in which it reduces both the duration and severity of symptoms. This all points to a conclusion that echinacea’s actions are related on some level to immune system function, as it helps the body deal with infections and stimulates immune response. The herb activates the macrophages that destroy cancer cells and pathogens and increases phagocytosis by raising levels of white blood cells, such as neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, and B-lymphocytes. It also affects properidin levels, suggesting activation of the complement systems.”

Modern use and clinical trials continue to verify the traditional benefits and efficacy of echinacea. A 2007 meta-analysis that examined many clinical trials over several years concluded that echinacea indeed reduces the likelihood of developing a cold by 58%.  The duration of colds was furthermore reduced by 1.4 days in echinacea users. Herbalists agree that echinacea decreases the severity of cold symptoms such as cough, headache, fever and nasal congestion.

Recent research has confirmed that alkamides found especially in the roots of Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea are the most immunologically active constituents. These chemicals, once absorbed, are not immediately metabolized and excreted from the body, unlike most other components, including the polysaccharides and the caffeic acid derivatives echinacoside and cichoric acid.

In addition to the more commonly used Echinacea angustifolia, Native Americans also valued Echinacea purpurea for medicinal purposes, such as coughs and sore throats.

Pharmacokinetic studies have mistakenly suggested no more than 10 days of continuous use based on misleading comments in a 1989 study that used an injectable form.

Many references contraindicate use of echinacea in autoimmune and progressive systematic disease. Herbal authorities Berris Burgoyne and Kerry Bone explain that “from a rational perspective… Echinacea is positively indicated in a number of autoimmune diseases and is without adverse effects. While more research is needed to understand the role of Echinacea across a wider variety of autoimmune diseases, the theoretical concern expressed by some authorities in the 20th century that Echinacea was contraindicated for this class of disorder is looking to be exactly that: theoretical only”.

Combination rationale: While these two species are in most respects medicinally interchangeable, alkamides from Echinacea purpurea are most bioavailable when in the presence of those from Echinacea angustifolia. This provides the rationale for our EchinAce® combo, which is a highly potent blend of the roots of both species as well as the flowers, tops and seeds from Echinacea purpurea. With its creatively formulated mixture of two synergetic species of echinacea, this is, quite simply, one of the best natural infection fighters on the market.

Administration:
20-45 drops (0.7-1.5ml), 3-4 times daily, in a mouthful of water, on an empty stomach

Contraindications and Cautions:
Do not take this product if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not use this product if you have an allergy to members of the Asteraceae (daisy) family of plants. Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition, or if you are taking the chemotherapy drug midazolam or immunosuppressant medications.

Echinacea is great for lung infections - see also Usnea Combo  (Respirafect™). Diluted with water, it can also be applied externally with cotton swabs as a wash for infected cuts, wounds, and scrapes (note that it stings).