How To Harvest Echinacea Root

The Echinacea plant’s roots and aerial parts are both useful. The roots of the plant contain the most potent medication, although the aerial parts are most frequently utilized to make herbal drinks.

In the second year of growth, the aerial sections can be harvested. Simply cutting the stem above the lowest pair of leaves will allow you to harvest the aerial components. From the stem, remove the leaves and blossom buds, and lay them flat to dry. Anytime during the growth season is appropriate for this. You should do it when you are reducing the amount of echinacea.

A 2-3 year old plant’s roots should be harvested in the spring or the fall. While E. Purpurea has a taproot, E. Augustifolia has fibrous roots. Using a shovel or a garden fork, dig around the Echinacea plant and remove the roots out of the soil. I essentially dig up the entire plant’s root ball with a big shovel. You can now harvest the roots by taking fragments of the root from the root ball or by removing the entire plant. You can thin out your Echinacea patch by taking out the entire plant. You can replant the leftover roots in the ground if you only want to harvest a portion of the root ball.

Adult

Take echinacea three times daily for the first ten days of a cold, flu, upper respiratory infection, or bladder infection to stimulate the immune system generally.

Echinacea should NOT be taken on an empty stomach. Take it with food or a big glass of water instead.

Where do you get your echinacea from?

There are 11 plants in the Echinacea genus, the majority of which are regarded as coneflowers. These include the narrow-leaf coneflower, Echinacea angustifolia, and the sanguine purple coneflower, Echinacea sanguinea, which served as the foundation for early medicinal studies on the genus (TWC Staff, 2013, Brinker, 2013). Asteraceae is the family of plants that includes Echinacea purpurea.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat

Although E. purpurea is currently present in at least 27 states and two Canadian provinces, it originated originally from the northeast of Texas. In the eastern to central United States, E. purpurea is widespread. E. purpurea prefers sandy or loamy soil that is well drained.

Description

A perennial, E. purpurea with drooping rays that range in color from lavender to pink and a brownish central disk that contains numerous spiny seeds. The Greek word echinos, which means hedgehog in allusion to the bristly seed tops, served as the inspiration for the genus name Echinacea. Flowers can be found on a single stem, and the plant has smooth stems that are 2 to 5 feet tall. From April until September, the flowers are in bloom. The lancolate, ovate, green leaves have a rough texture and serrated or dentate margins.

Portion of the Plant Used

Due to the numerous conventional and contemporary medical applications of Echinacea purpurea, numerous plant components are utilized to variable degrees. All parts of the flower—flowers, leaves, stems, and roots—are employed in medical procedures.

Traditional Uses

Numerous ailments have been treated using E. purpurea. The primary focus of this plant’s traditional usage has been its ability to reduce inflammation, which can occur anywhere or in any situation, including on the skin or as a result of an immunological response. Herbal tea made from the blossoms is supposed to strengthen the immune system. The herb has traditionally been used to treat colds, infections, wounds, ulcers, and inflammatory skin conditions (Van Wyk et.al., 2004). There may be further unusual uses for the plant, depending on where it is in the world. Echinacea purpurea is utilized as an anti-venom in India, while it is also used to treat inflammation in Italy (Ross, 1999).

Research

Echinacea angustifolia, rather than Echinacea purpurea, was used in the genus’ early medicinal use. Even in 1923, when at least ten out of 700 doctors mentioned using Echinacea to treat influenza, doctors continued to advocate its usage (Brinker, 2013). Taking significant doses of E. angustifolia (130–1750 mg), often peaking after just one day, caused individuals to have an increase in leukocyte count, according to a 1934 study at the Eclectic Medical College (Brinker, 2013). German researchers contributed to part of the fall in the use of E. angustifolia in medicine by demonstrating that the extract only mildly inhibited gram-positive bacteria like Streptococcal and Staphylococcus aureus (Brinker, 2013).

While E. angustifolia was the subject of the majority of early investigations on the survivability of Echinaeca species, Dr. John King’s Eclectic American Dispensary, published in 1853, highlighted E. purpurea’s potential medical applications (Brinker, 2013). Despite the roots not being allowed at the time, a German Commission authorized the use of E. purpurea liquid in 1989 as a “supportive treatment for persistent respiratory and urinary infections as well as wound healing” (Brinker, 2013).

Recent investigations have demonstrated the immunostimulatory properties of this plant (Crellin, 1990). In order to determine whether utilizing Echinacea for the common cold and associated events was effective, a significant meta-analysis of previous research was conducted in 2007. (Brinker, 2013). After this meta-analysis, significant decreases in the frequency and duration of sickness were observed (Brinker, 2013). An investigation into E. purpurea’s impact on the common cold was conducted in 2012. In this study, individuals who took Echinacea extract experienced a substantial reduction in recurrent infections compared to those who took ibuprofen (Jamal et.al, 2012; Brinker, 2013).

Side Effects, Interactions, and Contraindications

Researchers hypothesize that there may be dangers associated with using the Echinacea herb in conjunction with a number of systemic illnesses, such as AIDS, leukemia, collagenosis, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, and some autoimmune diseases (Brinker, 2013). This theory is based in part on the impact E. purpurea has on the enzyme cytochrome P450 3A4, which influences how much medication, particularly macrolide antibiotics like clarithromycin and erythromycin, is absorbed (Brinker, 2013).

Echinacea should be gathered when?

Two plants of varying sizes from the same E. purpurea cluster. It is simpler to track roots and distinguish the echinacea from the other plants in the clump if leaves are left on plants when they are divided for replanting and tincturing.

Before digging the Echinacea purpurea plant to manufacture tincture, it must be at least three years old. Here, we take it after the frost, when the leaves, seed heads, and stalks are all dark in color.

The largest root of E. purpurea at the crown is prepared to be split from fibrous roots. The crown will be maintained for replanting, and the roots will be cut back for tincturing.

The presence of vascular rings in E. pallida’s roots aids in the identification of the plant as echinacea. Even the small fibrous roots of E. purpurea exhibit these rings.

Excellent close-up of E. pallida’s vascular rings, which separate the crown for replanting from the root for tincture.

Plants of E. purpurea are divided for replanting and tincturing. Whole tincturing roots are at the top, and the plant has been pruned for replanting with the crown at the bottom.

Plants and crowns are separated for replanting as follows: bottom, trimmed crowns on wet paper towels; top, plants with tops wrapped in damp towel; top right, crowns are placed in damp towels and plastic bags to conserve root moisture until time for replanting.

Splash some menstruum (90-proof vodka or 1 part pure grain alcohol to 1 part distilled water) on the roots as you pound them to aid in the process.

Pour the menstruum over the crushed root in a clean glass container that has a plastic top. 2 parts menstruum to 1 part root is the customary ratio.

It is now time to strain the completed tincture, which has been matured for two to six weeks. The leaves and/or blossoms should only be allowed to steep for 48 hours when creating a tincture. All tinctures need to be shaken twice a day for the menstruum and root to function at their optimum.

The tincture can be strained using a yogurt cheese maker.

It strains the tincture effectively and moves quickly. Naturally, if you create a lot of tinctures, a tincture press is fantastic, but a sieve coated with fine cheesecloth works just as well. Apply pressure on the roots with a pestle to get out every last drop of flavor.

When prepared, transfer the tincture to a pristine, brown glass bottle. Since the rubber tends to degrade, we use a variety of recycled dark glass bottles and swap out worn-out droppers for fresh ones.

Insert the fork or shovel into the ground all around E. purpurea, between 11/2 and 2 feet away from the plant.

Use the fork’s tines to gently lift the plant from the bottom up, making sure to get the entire root. It will be necessary to separate the clump’s echinacea and other plant roots.

How is echinacea root tea made?

How to make echinacea tea from loose leaf:

  • Put the echinacea plant’s blossoms, leaves, and roots in a teacup.
  • After bringing water to a boil, let it sit for a moment to slightly lower the temperature.
  • 8 ounces of water should be poured on the plant portions.
  • Allow the tea to brew for however long you like.

What advantages does echinacea root possess?

For virus infections like the common cold and flu, echinacea has been used. The immune system is strengthened with it. Along with antifungal medicines applied to the vaginal area, it has also been used to treat recurring vaginal fungal infections (commonly known as “yeast infections”). It has been discovered that certain herbal and diet supplement items contain additives or contaminants that could be dangerous. Find out additional information about the brand you use by speaking with your pharmacist. The safety and efficacy of this product have not been examined by the FDA. For more information, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to use

Use this product as indicated and ingest it. Observe every instruction on the product package. Ask your physician or pharmacist if you have any queries.

Long-term usage of this substance might reduce its effects. It is advised that you use this product for no longer than 8 weeks at a time.

Seek emergency medical assistance if your ailment persists or worsens, or if you suspect you may be suffering from a serious medical condition.

In whom should echinacea not be taken?

Consult your doctor before using echinacea if you regularly take other medications. Additionally, if you smoke, use illegal substances, drink alcohol or caffeine-containing beverages, you should disclose this to your doctor. These might impact how echinacea functions.

If you have an autoimmune ailment (like lupus), an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, echinacea may not be beneficial to you (AIDS). Before beginning to use echinacea, you should discuss with your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing.

Echinacea allergy risk may be increased if you have a history of allergies to daisies, ragweed, marigolds, chrysanthemums, or other related plants.

What applications does fresh echinacea have?

Although it is not a herb used in cooking, echinacea can be added to your winter wellness drinks as needed. The immune system shouldn’t be boosted regularly with echinacea, despite its reputation as a potent immune booster. Instead, it is advisable to begin taking Echinacea at the onset of an illness or infection and to stop taking it after 5 to 10 days. All ages can safely take echinacea. It acts to increase the production of antibodies, to activate white blood cells, and to support lymph nodes. everything crucial to warding off a disease. Daily use of Echinacea may lessen the herb’s ability to be effective when it is most required. Echinacea may cause an allergic reaction in those with a rare aster family plant allergy.

The anti-microbial, anti-viral, immunomodulator, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal, and alternate properties of echinacea are only a few. Echinacea is beneficial in conditions like bacterial and viral infections because of these qualities. It is beneficial for laryngitis, tonsillitis, tonsillitis, and upper respiratory infections. Echinacea is beneficial for oral health problems and can be used as mouthwash to treat conditions like gingivitis and gum disease. Additionally, Echinacea can aid in the treatment of abscesses, ulcers, and boils. The decoction can be applied topically to treat athlete’s foot, sore throats, and ulcers.

The most popular preparations of echinacea are tinctures and decoctions. A decoction is a root-based tea. Instead of brewing the roots like you would with leaves and blossoms, you simmer them for 10 minutes to form a decoction. A decent place to start is with about a spoonful of dried roots in a pint of water.

Echinacea tincture can be added to tea, applied topically, or consumed orally. On contact, it causes a tingling sensation. When used as a throat spray, this tingling sensation is extremely effective at relieving sore throats.

I’ve had a great personal experience with echinacea. It is simple to grow and harvest, and it is well worth your time. especially when you start to feel that ache! At Melissa and Yarrow, you can find out more about how to use your root concoctions. Get some and start today—winter is here!

How are Echinacea flowers dried for tea?

Our house always has echinacea tea on hand. I now prepare it for my family whenever someone is feeling under the weather after my mother used to make it for me. Since I was cultivating the echinacea myself, I never would have considered making it from scratch. Instead, I bought some purple coneflowers to serve as the main pollinators in my garden instead. They are absolutely intoxicating to bees and butterflies, attractive, tasty, and in abundance!

The only suggestion I’ve heard that can be a little difficult is to wait until the plants are at least two years old. Making echinacea tea at home is quite simple, though. I didn’t do that since I can’t wait more than two minutes for anything, much less two years. Therefore, this is the fundamental idea behind preparing your tea, collecting the flowers, and drying them.

echinacea tea brewed at home:

  • Harvesting your plant comes first. Echinacea is easy to harvest for tea. For maximum antioxidant potential, you can use the WHOLE echinacea plant because the roots store a lot of nutrients. If not, you can still benefit from the get-well effects by just harvesting the bloom and leaves.
  • Cut just below the first row of top leaves if you are only going to remove the blossom.
  • Cut right above the first set of leaves at the bottom if you are also harvesting leaves (so, leave one set of leaves near the soil).
  • You can either hang the entire plant to dry, OR you can remove the petals and leaves and lay them flat to dry in a cool, dark area.
  • Gather the petals and leaves when they have dried, then gently chop or smash them into little pieces.
  • When ready, combine in a tea infuser and add boiling water.

A word on brewing tea:

There must be a proper technique to prepare tea. A very gentle way is preferable whether the tea is white or green, like echinacea is (the leaves are green). Only just bring the water to a boil before allowing it to steep for three minutes.

The tea will grow more bitter the longer it is infused with boiling water and the hotter the water is. If brewed properly, tea should taste mild and light in the mouth and require little to no sweetness.