Echinacea is classified as an herb, although it is also known as the American coneflower. It was traditionally used as an herbal remedy for various illnesses by Native American tribes, as well as by many medical providers prior to the invention of antibiotics in the latter part of the 20th century.
There are still numerous echinacea benefits and making an herbal tea with it can certainly give your health a boost!
1. Common Cold
Echinacea tea may help you fight off that pesky common cold you just can’t get rid of! One review of several studies found that this herb does have a slight benefit in preventing colds. There are a few reasons why echinacea may have this effect.
One of these reasons may be that it increases the number of white blood cells in your body. The variation in each study might be because echinancea fights only some of the more than 200 viruses that can cause a cold.
However, giving echinacea tea a try can only help in getting rid of that cold since the side effects are limited!
2. Immune System Boost
In addition to helping with the common cold, echinacea tea may be able to give the entire immune system a boost, in general! According to Medical News Today, most strains of the herb contain alkamides, which have an effect on the immune system, which might help make your body stronger!
All species of echinacea also contain phenols that have antioxidant properties which are good for your health.
3. May assist in the body’s response against cancer
Studies have shown that echinacea can stimulates phagocytosis in the body, which is the process by which white blood cells and lymphocytes fight off invading organisms. Drinking this herbal tea may even be able to improve this process by as much as 40 percent!
Additionally, it increases the production of interferon and tumor necrosis factor, which are both important components in your body’s fight against cancer.
4. Ear Infection Help
Ear infections can be incredibly painful and harmful! Echinacea tea may be the natural cure you’ve been looking for. These infections occur due to a bacteria or virus and you may be more prone to them if you are an allergy sufferer.
One study from the Langone Medical Center at New York University found that echinacea is helpful for inner ear infections, in particular. They recommend taking the herb two to three times a day for up to ten days to quicken the healing process when dealing with an ear infection.
5. Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
There is some evidence that taking echinacea can shorten the amount of time you may suffer from an upper respiratory tract infection, most likely because of its success in boosting the immune system.
Different strains of the herb may have different effects, which is a possible reason why clinical trials come up with different results and makes it difficult to make an exact recommendation on the proper remedial dosage.
6. Cold Sores
The Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide at the University of Maryland Medical Center states that one study found echinacea tea can have an antiviral effect on the development of recurring cold sores.
This study was on cold sores caused by the Herpes Simplex 1(HSV1) virus, not Herpes simplex 2(HSV2). Echinacea extract should be taken prior to the development of the infection, so drink that tea as soon as you feel a cold sore coming on!
7. Yeast Infection and Urinary Tract Infections
This same guide through the University of Maryland Medical Center also briefly touches on how echinacea can be beneficial for vaginal health. Due to its hormonal effects, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, this herb may be helpful in treating yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
A study by the National Institutes of Health also found that taking echinacea in addition to applying a vaginal cream can reduce recurring vaginal infections by up to 16 percent.
8. Skin care
Echinacea was also used for years by Native American tribes as a remedy for various skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, sticks, and other inflammatory skin disorders.
If these afflictions are causing the skin to swell, it may be effective due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
9. Pain Relief
Native American tribes, particularly the Great Plains Indians, also found pain relief to be one of the many benefits of taking echinacea. They used it for various types of pain, from a stomachache to a headache, and even for snake bite pain!
We recommend drink it as a tea, but they also ground it into a cream and applied it directly to the painful area.
10. Mental Health
Echinacea may also be helpful in improving your mental health, particularly in reducing anxiety symptoms. Research has shown that taking 40 mg of one particular strain of the herb everyday for seven days can reduce the feeling of anxiety.
Taking less than 40 mg a day was not found to be effective, so make sure that tea is strong or try taking an echinacea supplement!
11. Constipation Relief
It can even have an effect on your bowel movements, if you are having trouble in this particular area. One study found that taking echinacea helped produce a bowel movement in a subject that was constipated. In smaller doses, researchers did not see this same effect as with larger doses.
Will You Have A Cup of Echinacea Tea?
As you can see, the benefits of drinking echinacea tea are numerous. The herb has anti-inflammatory and infection fighting properties and can help with the common cold, ear infections, upper respiratory infections, and even cold sores!
To find out even more information, check out this video on echinacea presented by Dr. James Meschino where he calls the herb “one of nature’s immune modulators.” He expertly discusses using echinacea as an herbal remedy for the cold and flu.
If you are experiencing even one of these ailments, give echinacea tea a try! See how it works for you.