ECHINACEA, angustifolia

Echinacea Angustifolia Plant

The Native Americans discovered many of our great herbs. One of them is the infection fighter and immune enhancer, echinacea.

On July, 1887, Dr. J. S. Hays from Denver, Colorado, recorded that he was called to Larkspur to treat a twelve year-old girl for diphtheria. After his examination, he pronounced that the case was hopeless and told her family that there was nothing he could do for her. The family insisted that he do something—anything. He left them some echinacea and told them to administer this every three hours, along with some eucalyptus vapors. He returned to his home expecting to hear of her funeral in a few days.

The family saw improvement, so on July 9th he was called to the home again. He said the symptoms of blood poisoning and exhaustion were so marked that he insisted the case was still hopeless. They could continue the echinacea, but not to call for him again unless there was marked improvement, which he doubted there, would be.

He was called in again on the 11th of July and, to his surprise, the patient was convalescent with no other treatment.
He went on to say, “A few days afterward, I had four cases of malignant diphtheria in the same family in west Denver. I expected to lose two of them but the echinacea carried them through safely.”

Echinacea is a member of the sunflower family. It is a perennial that may sometimes grow to a height of five feet. Unlike the sunflower whose head follows the sun, the echinacea flowers usually look up to the sky and the rays or petals hang down. The center of the flower or the disk is crowned or raised up into a dome or cone shape and covered with a coarse hairs or tufts of hairs that are usually purple to purplish white. This is where it gets its name, purple cone flower. Echinacea will bloom from June until October. The root and the rhizome (horizontal root) are the parts that are mostly used. The root can be dried and powdered and put into formulated capsules or sprinkled over an open wound or ulcer.

Jethro Kloss says, “Echinacea is an excellent blood cleanser. It has been used for blood poisoning, fevers, car-buncles, boils, peritonitis, syphilitic conditions, bites and stings of poisonous insects or snakes, erysipelas, gangrenous conditions, sores, diphtheria, tonsillitis, pus formations, infections, and wounds.”

Echinacea is known for many things, but is mostly known as an infection fighter and an immune enhancer. When combined with other herbs like garlic, goldenseal and others, it becomes an herbal antibiotic. It is used in some herbal combinations like Grandma's herbal Anti and Immune Enhancer, also in some blood-cleansing teas.

Echinacea used to be plentiful, covering the Midwest prairies. Today, it is very scarce and very expensive. It is used in Europe much more than here in America, where it is native. In 1917, echinacea was listed as a medicine in Pharmacopia Americana where it remained until they where able to imitate it synthetically.

A little boy was very sick with cerebrospinal meningitis. He was delirious, and not expected to recover. When everything else failed, they turned to echinacea. With only echinacea as a medicine, juices and good food, the child made a remarkable recovery.

After hearing all these good things about echinacea, we all should go out and get some echinacea seeds and plant them in our flower gardens. They are really a beautiful flower with their own built-in medicine. If you plant echinacea, try to get the species angustifolia. It is a little stronger medicine.

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