Which Echinacea Plant Is Best For Medicine

A number of compounds found in echinacea contribute to its medicinal properties. Polysaccharides, glycoproteins, alkamides, volatile oils, and flavonoids are a few of them.

The chemical composition of the root is very different from that of the plant’s upper half. For instance, the plant’s above-ground portions often have more polysaccharides whereas the roots have higher quantities of volatile oils (odorous compounds) (substances known to trigger the activity of the immune system). The positive effects of echinacea are caused by the combination of these active ingredients, while research indicates that the above-ground part of Echinacea purpurea is the most efficient.

The above-ground components of Echinacea purpurea are permitted for the treatment of colds, upper respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, and slow-healing wounds in Germany (where herbs are subject to government regulation). It is also permitted to use the root of the Echinacea pallida plant to treat diseases that resemble the flu.

Are all types of echinacea edible?

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The herbaceous perennial plant echinacea, also referred to as purple coneflower, has four species and six variants that are all native to North America. This well-liked plant has been a staple in perennial gardens for more than 200 years. Indigenous people have historically utilized it as a medicinal herb in North America. In addition to offering several health advantages, it is also used as wild edible food. The name echinacea, which refers to the spiny center cone, is derived from the Greek word “echinos,” which means hedgehog.

Distinguishing Features

With its daisy-like purple/pink flowers and spiky seed cones, this heat- and drought-resistant shrub is highly distinctive. Touching the leaves feels scratchy.


The flowers range in color from deep purple to pink, and the florets form a towering seed cone. Sharp spines cover this cone. Echinacea blooms around the middle of the summer and lasts for approximately a month before going into short-term hibernation. Early in the autumn, some plants could bloom once again.

White Echinacea: Is it therapeutic?

  • medicinal effect Immunostimulant and antimicrobial
  • important elements Alkamides, caffeic acids, polysaccharides, humulene, and
  • How to use Freshly milled capsules, tinctures, dried essential oils
  • Medical grade (2) Unimportant plant
  • Safety score Safe

Health Benefits of Echinacea

The herb echinacea has been used medicinally for a very long time. Although echinacea has historically been given to treat a wide range of medical ailments, research has demonstrated that its greatest benefits are for:

infection treatment The medical benefits of echinacea have been demonstrated to be successful in the treatment of bacterial and viral illnesses, particularly respiratory and urinary tract infections.

improving immunity Immune-stimulating qualities of echinacea help fight off dangerous germs and speed healing.

The health benefits of echinacea have been used traditionally for a variety of purposes over the years, including:

cleaning cuts and scratches. Echinacea’s antibacterial qualities have long been used to clean open wounds and stop infections.

reduces inflammation The anti-inflammatory qualities of echinacea have long been used to treat cough, cold, and irritation of the throat.

How It Works

However, the echinacea herb has been found to contain fat-soluble alkamides, caffeic acid, and polysaccharides, and its volatile oil contains humulene, which in vitro studies have suggested may have anti-inflammatory properties. The precise compounds responsible for the medicinal properties of echinacea are still unknown.

Echinacea appears to have immune-stimulating qualities because to its alkamide content, whereas caffeic acids are naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial.

On the other hand, it is assumed that humulene and alkamides are in charge of echinacea’s capacity to combat diseases.


Astragalus, cabbage, and noni are further plants that boost immunity, and calendula, garlic, and lime also have antibacterial characteristics.

Echinacea Side Effects

When taken orally, echinacea is probably safe for the majority of people. Even though adverse responses to the herb are rare, there are certain possible side effects to be aware of, including as fever, nauseousness, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, bad taste, headache, dry mouth, dizziness, and joint and muscular discomfort.


Echinacea can also cause allergic responses, thus anyone who are allergic to Asteraceae species like ragweed, mums, or daisies should use caution when consuming this herb.

Echinacea should also be used with caution by those who have auto-immune disorders including multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis because doing so can make them worse.

Echinacea is generally safe to consume when pregnant or nursing, but since little study has been done on the plant’s effects, pregnant or nursing women should speak with a doctor before taking the herb in therapeutic doses.

What are the two echinacea varieties?

In addition to being widely available in garden centers and seed catalogs, echinacea faces the threat of losing its natural habitat.

One of the most recognizable herbs in use today is this grassland plant. But popularity comes with a price, and in meadows the plant was swiftly removed to supply a booming supplement industry, making it an easy target. Today, a rising number of suppliers are required to maintain echinacea in natural settings and cultivate it sustainably thanks to initiatives like United Plant Savers. Their efforts ensure that this magnificent plant is available to everyone.

Which Echinacea to Use?

Did you know that there is some debate on the best echinacea to use? You may have noticed that the echinacea in your seed catalog comes in a variety of new hues. You may have also observed that your preferred herb seller offers at least two options.

What is the difference between species?

There are two species that are easily found, Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia. Both are native to different regions of the United States, but the Native Americans only used Echinacea angustifolia when we first learned about their usage of this plant. They started utilizing Echinacea purpurea instead of Echinacea angustifolia since it was so common in Europe at the time it was introduced to the supplement industry.

Echinacea purpurea is frequently thought to be less potent than Echinacea angustifolia and consequently inferior. Echinacea angustifolia is unquestionably more uncommon, and many people find it a little more challenging to grow. Which one to use is really a matter of interpretation, and there are plenty of herbalists who will support both sides of the debate with convincing proof that they are both effective. My research suggests that we may need to utilize Echinacea purpurea in higher amounts than we would need to use Echinacea angustifolia, at the very least.

Do I Use the Leaf or Root?

You may typically find echinacea’s dried leaf and dried root in herb catalogs. The plant was traditionally utilized for root preparations, but we now know that the compounds needed to strengthen our immune system are present in all plant sections. The ideal approach to make an echinacea tincture is to start with a leaf tincture early in the season, add flower in the summer, and finish with a little root in the fall.

How Is Echinacea Used?

The benefits of both echinacea species are greatest when the body is infected. The entire plant is highly beneficial for conditions including a sore throat with pus-filled areas, which is comparable to strep throat. Conditions involving advanced infection or tissue deterioration benefit greatly from echinacea. It can be applied in situations where the system has been overworked and stressed out in general. The substances in this plant direct our white blood cells to migrate quickly to an area where our body is struggling to fight an illness. This is the reason I don’t suggest using echinacea as an immune system tonic or preventive.

Where to Get Echinacea

If you choose to use echinacea into your teas or tinctures in order to prepare for the winter’s illnesses. Make sure to purchase them from a dependable herb supplier that is protecting native populations, such as Mountain Rose Herbs. You can be confident that, regardless of the species you pick and the plant part you want to use, you will benefit in the event of an illness.

About Dawn Combs

Dawn works as a farmer, a wife, a mother, an author, an ethnobotanist, a public speaker, and an educator. She has a B.A. in Botany and Humanities/Classics and more than 20 years of experience in ethnobotany. She is also a licensed herbalist. Co-owner of Mockingbird Meadows Farm is Dawn. Conceiving Healthy Babies and Heal Local are two of her books.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: We may accept monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or connection to any products or services from this website in order to fund our website activities.


A single flower with 15 to 20 pink to light purple rays (petals) that are each 3/4 to 11/2 inches long and 1/4 to 1/3 inch diameter and have three notched teeth at the tip can be found at the end of a sturdy, hairy stalk. As they mature, rays sag and curve under as they spread out and rise. Large round to conical orangish brown disk in the middle is covered in tiny brown disk flowers that have yellow pollen. Usually, a plant has one to several flowering stalks.

Leaves and stem:

The majority of the leaves are basal, while the bottom part of the stem has stem leaves that are widely spread and alternately attached. Lower leaves have long, narrow, up to 8-inch stalks that are 1/2 to 1 inch wide, and as they climb the stem, they get shorter and lose their stalks. There are three distinct veins along the length, and the edges are toothless. The stems and leaves have rough, hairy surfaces. Stems may have purple or green undertones.


Although it is not a common species in the nursery industry, narrow-leaved purple coneflower is a native of western sandy grassland and is frequently offered by native seed dealers. This plant has similar leaves to Echinaceae pallida (Pale Purple Coneflower), but its ray petals are only about 1/8 inch diameter and up to 3 inches long. According to some references, this plant is a western variant of that plant. Eastern Purple Coneflower (E. purpurea) contains similar flowers to E. angustifolia, but its lanceolate leaves are shorter, broader, and extend all the way up the stem. Only one of these three native coneflowers, E. angustifolia, is indigenous to Minnesota, but the other two thrive here and are frequently sold at native plant markets. The wildflower trade also carries E. tennesseensis, an eastern variety from the central Tennessee forest glades.

Yellow Echinacea: Is it therapeutic?

Among the coneflower species, this perennial species is uncommon because its blossoms are yellow rather than the more typical purple tint. Native Americans utilized coneflowers for a variety of therapeutic uses, including as treating rattlesnake bites and relieving toothaches, sore throats, coughs, and other discomforts; anyone who has eaten on the seeds can attest to their numbing effects. According to research, coneflowers can activate the immune system, operate as a mild antibiotic, and heal wounds (Medicinal Natural Plants of the Prairie by Kindscher). However, root-digging for pharmaceutical purposes has wiped out many wild populations. Another name for this plant is bush “The Coneflower. The spiny cone is referred to by the Latin name Echinacea “while paradoxa alludes to the paradox of a yellow coneflower’s likeness to a hedgehog.

Wildlife Notes

Along with small mammals, Goldfinches and other birds like the Yellow Coneflower’s seeds. Numerous native bee species depend on it, and other butterfly species also use it.

Forage Notes

The coneflowers are very tasty to animals. They make excellent forage, particularly in the early spring. Coneflowers are decreasers and are grazed out when continuously grazed.

Landscaping Notes

Yellow Coneflower is a lovely complement to dry settings with full sun wildflower meadows. When the acidity of the subsoil has been reduced through liming, it thrives. It “shares well” with other plants and is not hostile. With Pale Purple Coneflower, New Jersey Tea, Purple & White Prairie Clover, and Wild Bergamot, which blooms sooner, it makes a lovely pairing. The blossoms produce lovely cut flowers. People claim that this species is resistant to deer.

Restoration Notes

The western portion of the Ozarks, specifically, is home to this species. It grows on upland grasslands, savannas, and glades of limestone and dolomite. On dry, sunny areas, it works well for rehabilitation projects.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat

The majority of the United States and parts of Canada are covered by rudbeckia. Their natural habitat consists of pastures, meadows, and open forests (Wildflower Database).


It is a perennial, R. fulgida. Flowers feature brown cores and spreading yellow-orange petals with teeth at their apical tips that curve slightly downward. The flower heads have a diameter of 2–3 inches. With rectangular leaves coated in bristly hairs, the stems are dispersed and between one and three feet tall. (USDA Wildflower Database). With traits that are quite similar to those of R. fulgida, R. hirta is an annual to short-lived perennial, but its flowers have a dark brown or brown-maroon center and “hairy” stems. The perennial R. laciniata has beautiful golden-yellow flowers that bend backward with green cores that mature to a brownish color. The flower heads have a diameter of 3–4 inches. The pinnate leaves grow on stalks that are 3 to 12 feet tall (Wildflower Database).

Traditional Uses

Early settlers in North America employed rudbeckia as a stimulant and a diuretic. The most common way to ingest dried plant material was as a tea. Additionally, it’s thought that the Potawatomi Indians brewed tea from the roots, which has immunostimulating characteristics that ease cold symptoms (Moerman, 1998). Various Native American tribes have been documented utilizing the herb to treat earaches, dropsy, worms, and snakebites (Moerman, 1998). Coneflowers were employed by the Cherokee people to ease various gynecological and venereal discomforts (Hamel and Chiltoskey, 1975).

Side Effects, Interactions, and Contraindications

The Black-eyed Susan plant is known to be harmful to cattle and horses, and there have been claims that it can irritate human skin (Perry, 1997).