Echinacea – Echinacea spp. (Root, aerial parts)
Actions: Alterative, antimicrobial, immunomodulant, immune stimulant, lymphatic, sialagogue
Use: Echinacea is primarily an immunostimulant, but it can also have a role in addressing allergies and autoimmunity. It is frequently used at the onset of infections—especially upper respiratory infections with swollen glands—for colds, the flu, and sinus, throat, and lung infections; it can also used be used to help resolve infected wounds and improve lymphatic function.
While Echinacea does stimulate the immune system, it can also have overall anti-inflammatory activity during infection; this is one mechanism for its anti-inflammatory and vulnerary actions, and suggests that it can be appropriate to use throughout the course of active illness and infection.
Safety: Individuals with allergic sensitivity to other plants in the Asteraceae (daisy) family may be sensitive to Echinacea. There is a theoretical concern with the use of it in systemic diseases such as tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and autoimmune diseases, but definitive data supporting or refuting this theoretical concern is lacking.
Dose: Tincture: 1-5mL for 3x/day; for acute situations, 30 drops every hour