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Echinacea Letting You Down? Use As Directed

Dec 15, 2007
If I were to give up all my Western Herbs and go back to just using Chinese Herbs solely, Echinacea would be the only herb I would be at a loss with. I just can't substitute an herb as effective with the same level of cleansing power. Yet, many people feel that it doesn't work and others always ask me about products that contain no other herbs. Unfortunately this herb may have fallen to commercialism, over hype, and a misunderstanding on what exactly it does.

First off, having a background in Chinese Herbology and using their diagnostic and formula theory, I don't make single herb remedies. I use synergy and multiple herbs to perform a simple function. As many herbs have many properties, it is better to use multiple herbs to guide the formula to do specific actions for you. It is no different; it has quite a few actions and properties that make it the 'King of Western Herbs.'

Echinacea is first and foremost an anti-inflammatory herb, and was first used that way by the Eclectics in the 1800s. This is what makes it great for boils, skin sores, blood cleanser, and venomous bites; all of which it is prescribed most for. The next great property of this herb is its antibiotic property that activates white blood cells, the body's infection fighters. If it weren't for Penicillin, its extracts may have been prescribed instead. This fabulous herb also activates T-cells in the body that rebuilds tissue and raises the body's immune system. This is where the misunderstandings start. It loses its preventative effects after 10 days which shows it's main property is to fight off acute problems: inflammation for example.

Yet still so many people relate this powerful cleansing herb to colds and preventative measures. If taken at the immediate onset of a cold, hence an acute condition, Echinacea could be a wonderful ASSISTANT to herbs like Yarrow and Elder to get rid of the cold in a very quick manner. This 10 day effectiveness is not a new concept that you may have heard for the first time by me. Instead I still run into people that say they do the "10 days on, then off 1 month" cycle that im not even sure where was started. So education about its preventative weakness has drawn 'loopholes' instead of substitutions. This is ridiculous when a simple combination of Astragalus /Huang Qi with Reishi (just to name one) can be used on a daily basis! I would encourage a more complex formula, but that simple combo is a great example of using the correct herbs for the job. The point here is that it is not a tonic herb used for building.

My usage for the herb is two folds and as part of a formula. First, it makes for great herb to use to cleanse and detox the blood. I recommend using Chaparral to complement and then add more blood cleansing herbs like: Poke Root and Yellow Dock. My next favorite usage of Echinacea is as a tincture combined with more antibiotic/anti-inflammatory herbs. This stores and carries nice and can be used for poisonous bites/stings both externally and internally. You may take this internally for inflammations, at the onset of a cold, and infections. Lastly this tincture can be used as an antibiotic for scratches, wounds; other skin infections (may always take it internally at the same time as externally for optimal results).

Echinacea is a valuable herb, to me the most valuable of all the western herbs. If you are new to using it, please take these suggestions to heart. Looking to give up on it? Give it a try but: please use as directed.
About the Author
Sean is a Chinese and Western Herbalist. Visit Dimmak Herbs Herbal Supplements for more information and product related to this article. To keep up daily with herbal and health tips visit The Blog of Health and Herbs.
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