It was around 1870 when Dr. Meyer from Nebraska learned about the root of Echinacea Angustifolia from the Sioux and Pawnee that lived in the plains. Meyers experimented with the root of Echinacea and developed a concoction that he called “Meyer’s Blood Purifier.”
Meyers trusted the new plant so much that he injected himself with the venom of rattlesnake and used Echinacea as an antidote for the venom. He repeated this experiment many times, recorded the result, and sent them to Dr. Loyd and Dr. King at the Eclectic Medical Institute in Cincinnati, considered the highest level of a medical institute at the time.
The good doctors believed Meyers to be a quack doctor and dismissed his reports. But Meyers was anything but stubborn. So he sent them a bunch of the black roots of Echinacea and convinced them to run their own experiments.
By 1920 Echinacea became one of the most commonly used herbs in medicine.
Meet the plant:
Echinacea is a very known plant, but most people do not know that there are different types of Echinacea, and only one of them, Angustifolia, is a potent medicine.
Echinacea Angustifolia grows in the vast plains of America. It is the Echinacea Purpurea that grows in the meadows of the east coast. That is partly why white men discovered the medicine of Echinacea only when they settled in the plains.
Echinacea Angustifolia is very hard to propagate from seed. You can differentiate between the two types of Echinacea by looking at the leaves. In Echinacea Angustifolia, the leaves are narrow and dark green. The Purpurea leaves are much broader and lighter in color.
The black root of Echinacea is the part of the plant used for medicine. For the root to provide a potent medicine, it must grow for about four years. The root’s black color is considered a signature of septic conditions indicated in a brown or black tongue.
What would you use Echinacea for?
Echinacea contains constituents known as alkylamides, a type of alkaloids. They act as insecticide defenses for the plant and are found mainly in the roots. They can be clearly identified when good Echinacea is tasted, as they create a ‘tingling’ or numbing effect upon the tongue.
alkylamides do not extract well in water but are well extracted in alcohol. Polysaccharide, on the other hand, is best extracted in water. A double extraction of Echinacea, first in water and then in alcohol, is beneficial for this plant.
Echinacea is beneficial for removing toxins from the blood and lymph. It does so by stimulating blood and lymph flow. Think about swollen lymph nodes, such as in the case of a sore throat.
Echinacea increases the number of white blood cells called phagocytes, a type of cells able to surround and kill microorganisms, ingest foreign material, and remove dead cells.
Echinacea can be used for any inflammatory or infectious disease.
You can apply Echinacea tincture to your gums in a mouthwash or by rubbing the tincture on the gums in case of gingivitis (gum inflammation)
You can drip Echinacea tincture directly on the lymph node at the back of your throat for sore throat, cold, flu, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, and general mucous.
You can add echinacea decoction to your nasal spray in cases of nasal congestion.
Echinacea taken internally in tincture or as a decoction works mainly in innate immunity (rather than the acquired immunity of antibody production) and is appropriate for any acute and chronic infections, whether due to bacterial or viral.
Topically, Echinacea is used for boils, carbuncles, and abscesses and as a . douche for vaginal infections.
Echinacea boosts the production of white blood cells and stimulates the immune system. Therefore it should be used with caution (under professional supervision) in cases where the immune system is already over active such as in allergies and autoimmune diseases.