If you are wondering what is echinacea good for, realize that it can be used as an herbal medicine in tincture, tea, or juice form
Have you ever wondered, “What is echinacea good for?” If so, we have some information for you.
Echinacea is a medicinal herb with broad use. We go through Chris Marano’s method for making the tincture, and we discuss its use as tea or juice. At the bottom of the page we have resources that discuss its medicinal uses.
Echinacea is a famous medicine. Even people who don’t know anything about herbs have heard of echinacea. It also stirs controversy among herbalists and researchers as to its effectiveness. People on one side of the fence claim it’s an incredible medicine that can be use for virtually any kind of acute illness. That’s a red flag for me. I would be skeptical of anything that people make such claims about, let alone echinacea. Yes, the plant can do a few things well, but it cannot do everything.
Then there’s the other side of the fence, where people say, “Echinacea’s reputation is completely overblown and it actually doesn’t work that well at all. It’s minor medicine, its reputation is completely unmerited, and not worth using.” I know a few herbalists who share this opinion, but I don’t think that echinacea is deserving of this criticism either.
What is echinacea good for? Making medicine
There are two species of echinacea most often used for medicine. One is Echinacea purpurea, or purple cone flower, the common variety you find in most gardens. The other is Echinacea angustifolia, a white-petaled variety that does not grow as readily where I live in the Northeast.
Most herb companies and herbalists primarily use the root, but its medicinal virtue runs through the entirety of the plant — root, leaf, flower petals and cone, seeds, and stem. The German Commission E, an excellent resource for credible information about plant medicine, says that the medicine is strongest in the stem juice, and that E. angustifolia is the most medicinally potent echinacea species.
When I make this medicine, I make it triple strength. During the summer time, when the above-ground part of the plant is in full flower, I gather this part of the plant and make medicine from the aerial parts, which you can see in the video. I return in late autumn for the seed and the root. As far as root medicine is concerned, best time to gather for maximum potency is in the spring when the plant is just emerging, or in the fall when the plant is going dormant for the winter. I perennially harvest echinacea root medicine in the fall. I harvest leaf, flower and stem medicine in the summer and make tincture of that. After several weeks of maceration, I press the tincture out. In the fall I use that same tincture liquid to blend in fresh root and seed medicine. I let that macerate for another few weeks before pressing it out. Now I have a more comprehensive medicine, and at twice the concentration of medicine because I used the same liquid (menstruum). Then I purchase dried root medicine of the other species, Echinacea angustifolia, and extract it in the same liquid for a third time for a few more weeks. Voila! Triple strength echinacea tincture made from every part of the plant and from two different species.
The dried plant is often used to make tea. The recommendation is to use 2 tsp of dried plant and combine it with 8 oz. of water. Steep for one hour, and you can consume 4-6 cups daily.
You can also juice the stem of the echinacea plant, which has been referenced as some of the strongest medicine, and ingest it directly with no further preparation.
It also works well as a glycerin tincture, although it is not as strong as an alcohol-based tincture.
What is echinacea good for? It’s great at attracting pollinators
Echinacea is also a favorite for pollinators and it is a beautiful herb to behold. It is a welcome addition to any garden or meadow. It needs very little help to grow and has a significant lifespan. If it is able to avoid disease, echinacea can live up to 50 years.
Root medicine is best gathered at the end of the third year. Fourth year is also okay. Prior to the third year the root is soft and medicinal, but there’s not that much mass . After the fourth year, echinacea root become too woody, so less available medicine per volume. Third-year root is Goldilocks! Just right! It yields the largest amount of medicine.
What is echinacea good for? Discover an in-depth look at echinacea’s medicine
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