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Written by Rachelle Fordyce on July 7, 2012 – -
by Guest Blogger and Rachelle Fordyce
Echinacea, or Echinacea Augustifolia, is not a newly discovered plant remedy by any means. In fact, as early as in 1885, Dr. H. C. F. Meyer, who had learned of the therapeutic properties of the plant from the American Indians, was responsible for it being prepared and packaged as a drug.
Nowadays, however, Echinacea is no longer prepared, packaged, and marketed as a “drug”.
Why? What happened?
By 1920, Echinacea was the most popular drug plant of Lloyd Brothers of Cincinnati, a pharmaceuticals manufacturer. Echinacea was one of North America’s most popular “plant drugs” and was being utilized for many medicinal applications by the 1930’s.
In the 1930’s, with the advent of “more effective” anti-infective agents and the fact that no patent rights can be granted for an herb or plant, the synthetics won out and Echinacea went by the way of many a good herb and fell from popularity and grace. Since it was no longer profitable, it was therefore ignored by the big pharmaceutical industries. (Note: Echinacea is by all means a flowering plant, not an herb, but since the term “floral remedy” is not as common as “herbal remedy”, it is often referred to as an herb.)
The Native Americans and Herbalists continued to use and perfect its many applications, however.
Belonging to the daisy family, the purple coneflower that beautifies our prairies, woods, fields and some country roadsides from southern Canada to Texas reaching from 1 to 2 feet and blooms from mid to late summer is Echinacea. Some folks call it a weed because it is so hardy. Many believe this lovely perennial has powerful healing properties.
Echinacea has again become a household word, and is a key ingredient in many lozenges, teas and tinctures. With this there is the controversy that comes from the FDA, with warnings and so forth of its dangers.
The roots are the part of the plant that yield the medicinal properties, they contain a substance called caffeic acid glycoside, which reacts with other substances in the body’s cells and facilitates it’s “wound healing properties”. In folk medicine it was used as a “blood purifier”.Medical doctorspraised Echinacea as a tremendous immune system booster was in periodicals, it was touted, for 25 years by Finley Ellingwood, MD., a Chicago physician devoted an entire magazine to this herb, the (Ellingwood’s Therapeutist). In this peer reviewed magazine 1000’s of physicians praised Echinacea’s ability to boost or increase the production of white killer cells in the body.Echinacea has been attributed to heal:
Poisonous snake bites
The above are but a few of the diseases or discomforts Dr. Paul Lee, the founder of the Platonic Academy of Herbal Studies, listed when he described Echinacea as “our leading herb on the list of immune-stimulants.”When preparing Echinacea tinctures, use the juice from the root of the plant.
For example, those who wanted to walk on fire and not feel the burn add the juice of the root to water, then sprinkled the tincture on coals before walking over to not feel the burn!
If you are going to use the roots for herbal healing purposes, it is best to wait until after the plant has been through several hard frosts and begins to die back.
The root should then be cleaned and dried. Use the root from the current year’s harvest for best results.
There are many more stories from Native Americans Doctors and Herbalists about this amazing plant, but perhaps some of the best stories are ones that have not been told yet.
Do you have an Echinacea “healing story” to tell?What attributes do you have to share about Echinacea that have been beneficial in your life? Share with us in a comment below!Learn the skills and experience you need to feed your family for free, live a sustainable lifestyle and eat the healthiest foods on the planet!
There’s a plant-based pharmacy waiting to be discovered in your forest!!
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