I recently attended a nutrition class that the primary focus was on herbal therapy. The information I learned specifically regarding Echinacea might be helpful to many of you.
I’ve heard that Echinacea was an immune system booster for years but was always skeptical about its effectiveness. What I learned at the class 2 weeks ago is that this is not a new concept. There is literature dating back to the 1800’s regarding Echinacea. In the early 1800’s the American Physicians that utilized herbs for there treatment of disease were called Eclectics and these Eclectics utilized Echinacea for the treatment of various illnesses including venomous bites, respiratory and gastric dysfunctions. The Eclectics were introduced to the benefits of Echinacea from the Native American peoples who would chew the root of the plant and make a poultice from it to treat bites and also would create a tea to treat internal dysfunction.
The root of Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea is what Echinacea supplements are made from. The active component of the herb is called the alkylamides. The alkylamides are the most important compounds for assisting your immune system. You will notice the alkylamides immediately when you taste them. Chew a high quality tablet and you will experience a strong tingling sensation in your mouth. So if your tongue doesn’t tingle when you taste your Echinacea it isn’t going to be very effective in helping you boost your immune system.
Studies show that Echinacea can enhance your natural immune response by recruiting and optimizing the function of the white blood cells. Certain white blood cells engulf and digest foreign particles or cells. Think of it as launching a full scale attack on the immune system “invaders”.
Our office uses the Standard Process and Mediherb Echinacea because I am sure these products are a high quality Echinacea. I did do the test with Mediherb’s liquid Echinacea and trust me it did make my mouth tingle!