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When to use echinacea?

Posted on 15/07/2014 by Health Wise

Echinacea is a well known and heavily researched herb, used by naturopaths and herbalists to support the immune system. It can help to improve both acute (e.g. colds/flus) and long term (e.g. allergy) conditions. The best quality and greatest efficiency is obtained by combining the root of the angustifolia and purpurea species.

Echinacea can ease the symptoms of mild upper respiratory complaints, such as sinus, coughs and colds - it can help to reduce the severity of symptoms and help the body to get better, quicker. Echinacea is also used by herbalists in many other conditions, including autoimmune diseases, lymphocytic leukaemia, gum disease, bad breath, and glandular fever.

To keep common colds, flus, and infections away during the winter months, a regular dose of a practitioner-only (high quality) liquid extract is very effective. At least 5ml of the extract 1-2 times daily is usually recommended; or for convenience, tablets of equivalent dose may be recommended, at 2-4 tablets per day.

If you're already sick, a much higher dose is necessary. To relieve the symptoms of colds, influenza and other upper respiratory infections our recommended dose is 5ml of the extract 6 times per day, or 2 tablets 5-6 times per day.

Echinacea combines well with other immune supportive measures, such as Andrographis (found in Andrographis Complex), Zinc (found in Zinc Protect tablets) and Vitamin C (found in Poly-C Powder).

The risk of an allergic reaction to Echinacea is very small, especially if preparations of the root are used, as these are free of the pollens that are likely to trigger a reaction. A tingling sensation on the tongue after ingesting a liquid Echinacea extract is normal however, and indicates the presence of the presence of alkylamides which are used as markers of quality for this herb.  Echinacea is not recommended in patients taking immunosuppressant medication (e.g. transplant patients), but is an otherwise safe and effective herbal medicine.

To find out more about the best quality Echinacea for you and your family this winter, see one of our HealthWise practitioners.


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