The Mystifying Echinacea
Echinacea plants are indigenous to North America. It’s thought that the Great Plain Indians first used the plant’s leaves, flowers and roots for medicine. Realizing it has so many uses, the pilgrims began using them too.
This tradition carried on from generation to generation. In fact, this plant was listed in the US National Formulary from the years of 1916- 1950’s.
Throughout the years, many stopped using it. Some believe that people quit using it because of the lack of evidences supporting its usefulness. Others believe the introduction of antibiotics is why it’s used less often No matter what the actual reason is, this plant became less utilized and eventually forgotten.
Now with all the drug recalls many are deliberating whether they should use pharmaceutical medicines.
Many feel that homeopathic medicines might be a safer choice. Who can blame them? Some of the possible side effect of the pharmaceutical medicines is dangerous.
What are the uses of Echinacea? Is using this plant for long term use safe? I will answer these questions and more in the following paragraphs.
Can Echinacea be useful in the treatment of autoimmune diseases? Before I answer that Let me explain what the immune system is, what it does and how these autoimmune diseases affects it.
Your immune system’s composed of many things. One of them is the white blood cells. These cells are also known as leukocytes, are produced in the bone marrow and only lives a few weeks.
When your body perceives something as an antigen, a threat to its homeostasis, it sends leukocytes out to surround and destroy it.
Sometimes your body thinks that its own tissue, muscle and organs are antigens and tries to destroy them. This immune system error’s what’s classified as an autoimmune diseases.
This battle of the systems causes numerous symptoms. One thing all eighty of these diseases has in common is that they deplete the immune system’s ability to fight off other infections.
This creates an opportunity for other, less evasive diseases to come in and create other health issues.
These secondary diseases, which normally are minimal in most healthy patients, has an opportunity to become deadly in the already sick patient.
This is the reason why people who suffer with various autoimmune diseases like HIV won’t actually die from that disease itself, but from a secondary infection like pneumonia.
So people who suffer with an autoimmune system disease needs to improve their immune system’s fighting ability.
In addition, they need to minimize what this system has to endure while treating the disease itself.
We can manage this by eating 3 healthy meals a day. Making sure to include fresh raw fruits and vegetables.
Use supplements like a multivitamin, omega 3 and vitamin c supplements. We can exercised daily, get plenty of rest and try a stress reduction program.
Can Echinacea be used for autoimmune diseases?
This question’s been a topic of hot debate for several years. The biggest concern is; will an accumulation of Echinacea in a person’s system cause the immune system to become overstimulated?
Several studies have been conducted on this matter as a result of this dispute. One finding back in 2002 was published stating that the researchers believe long term use of this drug is harmful.
Numerous studies have been conducted since the original study and they’ve concluded different findings. In fact various physicians have prescribed Echinacea for numerous autoimmune diseases.
Some of them include; mastitis, glandular indurations, mammary cancer, scrofulous, ulcers, syphilis.
Another study determined that patients who took Echinacea as part of their medical regimen’s able to reduce their steroid intake quicker than patients who didn’t take the supplement.
Experts concluded not only does Echinacea help treat the disease, it reduces symptom flare ups. In further review they found that white blood cells improves over time when this medicine’s taken orally.
Researches do caution people who have autoimmune diseases to take this medicine under the supervision of a licensed doctor.
Their recommendation is due to the fact that some medicines taken with Echinacea might cause an adverse reaction if taken for a long time.
They also conclude that a root extract containing alkyl amides is useful since it has the needed anti-inflammatory effects.
Echinacea’s often used to fight off upper respiratory infections, including the common cold and the flu.
In fact, many take this medicine if they feel an illness is coming on, as a preventive measure.
People who do this often find that they either have less colds, or that their symptoms are reduced by nearly half the time.
Numerous conducted studies support the theory that Echinacea helps minimize cold symptoms and it reduces the amount of time that you experience symptoms.
Many use this to fight off other infections as well. Some of them include; malaria, streptococcus, sepsis, typhoid fever, diphtheria, syphilis, genital herpes, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, disease of the lymphatic system, tonsillitis and gum disease, In fact the extract of this plant seems to cure most types of acute infections and prevents others from occurring.
It’s also shown to improve allergic reactions in some people who use it regularly.
There are numerous other uses for this plant. Some other uses might include; acid reflux disease, rheumatism, migraines, pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, dizziness, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It also helps with skin infections caused by blood disease and most cancers.
Some people often use it topically for things like; rattlesnake and other poisonous and nonpoisonous bites, burns, eczema, boils, bee stings, skin ulcers, psoriasis, sun burns, abscesses, herpes simplex, hemorrhoids, varies cuts and scrapes.
Some people use it as a beauty cream because it’s shown to help slow down the aging process.
Experts agree that Echinacea not only helps with symptoms and treatment of autoimmune diseases it helps with various infections, diseases, and skin aliments.
It’s known to reduce and possibly stop cold symptoms.
Lastly Echinacea’s proven safe for long term use under a doctor’s supervision.