Benefits of Echinacea: Natural Antibiotic and Powerful Immune Booster
Many of Echinacea’s chemical constituents are, in fact, powerful immune system stimulators and can provide a significant therapeutic value. A few that you’re probably familiar with are essential oils, flavonoids, inulin, polysaccharides and vitamin C.
People, who regularly use Echinacea, know that it works. It is the most well-known of medicinal herbs. Many studies confirm its effectiveness. For maximum effectiveness, take it with the first symptoms of infection. This can prevent it from taking hold. Once an infection has invaded the body of echinacea can help to shorten the recovery time.
How does it work?
In comparison with antibiotics, Echinacea works by stimulating our own immune system.
As a result of using Echinacea your immune system becomes better, able to deal with infections and viruses. Many scientific studies have shown that echinacea stimulates phagocytosis, a process where white blood cells move around invading harmful micro-organisms, they release chemicals and digest them. The immune system distinguishes between beneficial and harmful bacteria. An in-built intelligence seems to enable the cells of our immune systems to distinguish between beneficial and harmful bacteria.
Antibiotics are useless against viruses. Viruses use our DNA in order to multiply. This makes virus-related infections very difficult to treat. Echinacea stimulates interferon production. Our cells try to release interferon when they are infected by viruses. This makes it more difficult for the viral infection to spread.
Fever – a powerful healing response
The body produces an increased temperature as a reaction to the infection. The fever should not be suppressed because it is a healing response. The sea interferon our body cells produce, the better we are able to prevent viral infections. Echinacea is one of the most potent remedies that stimulate our body cells to produce more of this vital interferon.
The immune system is “Frontline defense against tumors, viruses and bacterial infections”.
Natural killer cells – a type of white blood cell – are a major component of the body’s innate, quick-response immune system.
“They provide a fast frontline defense against tumors, viruses and bacterial infections, by scanning the human body for cells that are cancerous or infected with a virus or bacterial pathogen, and killing them.
“NK cells – along with all other types of blood cell, both white and red – are continuously generated from blood stem cells in the bone marrow over the course of a person’s lifetime”.
Source: Imperial College London news release, 15 Sept 2009
This shows that by using natural remedies like Echinacea we help to prevent illness by boosting and strengthening our own healing power (the immune system). Echinacea, like other natural immune boosting remedies are complex compounds, which makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for bacteria to develop resistance. Natural remedies contain a very large range of active ingredients which all work in synergy.
Combats Cancer- preventing properties
The medicinal value of phytochemicals contained in Echinacea is clearly evident and indicates that these agents, as well as phytochemicals not yet discovered in other herbs, may be valuable tools to combat tumors- published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Research has shown that Echinacea boosts the activity and function of cells which are called Natural Killer (NK) cells. Our immune system constantly fights killer cells.
In September 2009 the Imperial College London scientists discovered the master gene that causes stem cells to turn into ‘disease-fighting NK cells.
Boosts the Immune System
Echinacea cuts the chances of catching a common cold by 58 percent, it’s a natural cold remedies.
In addition, the medical journal Hindawi has published material suggesting that echinacea stops viral colds. However, the most significant results of echinacea benefits with regards to the immune system were the effects when used on recurring infections.
Echinacea is also a fantastic remedy for a whole slew of infections. According to the NIH, taking echinacea and applying a medicated cream to the skin can lower the rate of reoccurring vaginal infections by to 16 percent, compared to simply taking the medicine alone. It’s also known to help with:
- Genital herpes
- Gum disease
- Urinary tract infections
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Improves Skin Problems
Echinacea benefits the skin superbly. In a paper prepared by Armando González Stuart, Ph.D., about herbal safety, it describes how echinacea has been used by various Native American tribes to treat:
- Arthropod Bites
- Inflammatory skin conditions
- Skin infections
- Wound healing
- It can also be used to regenerate skin.
Echinacea Side Effects
High doses of echinacea can sometimes cause nausea and dizziness. It has also been reported that injected echinacea can cause more severe reactions, such as diarrhea, disorientation, dizziness, dry mouth, fever, headache, insomnia, joint and muscle aches, nausea, numbness of the tongue, sore throat, stomach pain, particularly and those who have allergies.
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