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Brand Name: echinacea Latin Name:Echinacea species                          Other names: Coneflower, Rudbeckia, Sampson Root                                                   A Remedy For                                                             Bronchitis                               Colds                               Cough                               Fever                               Sore throat                               Tendency to infection                                                 There are three types of Echinacea: Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea                                                 pallida, and Echinacea angustifolia. All are used to boost the immune                                                 system and fight infections, but only the purpurea and pallida varieties                                                   have been definitively proven effective. In general, the medicinal effects of                       the leaves are better documented than the effects of the roots.                                                 In addition to the conditions listed above, the purpurea variety of                                                 Echinacea is considered an effective treatment for urinary tract infections                                                   and poorly healing wounds, skin ulcers, and burns. The root of Echinacea                       purpurea is used to reestablish the supply of white blood cells following                         cancer treatments, and to supplement other anti-infection drugs.                                                 In folk medicine, the angustifolia variety of Echinacea is widely used for                                                 conditions such as wounds, burns, swelling of the lymph nodes, insect                                                 bites, stomach cramps, measles, gonorrhea, and snake bite. However, its                                                 effectiveness for these conditions has not been proven.                                                   What It Is; Why It Works                          As a natural buttress to immunity, Echinacea has become one of the                         hottest items in the current herbal renaissance--and its reputation is not                         unwarranted.                                                 Researchers have found that the leaves of Echinacea purpurea speed the                                                 healing of wounds and boost the effectiveness of the immune system by                                                 increasing the number of white blood cells, spleen cells, and other                                                   disease-fighting agents such as T-helper cells and interleukin. In addition,                       Echinacea purpurea root has been shown to prevent the growth of bacteria                         and viruses.                                                 Tests conducted on Echinacea pallida have shown that it too strengthens                                                 the body's defenses against disease; and extracts from the root have                                                 stopped the growth of viruses in the lab. Likewise, lab tests of Echinacea                                                   angustifolia have shown that it stimulates the immune system and will kill                       bacteria or prevent their growth.                                                   Originating in North America, Echinacea was used by the Sioux tribe for                       snakebites, and by other Native Americans as a general antiseptic. It is                       now cultivated in the United States and Europe. Its taste is slightly sweet,                       then bitter, leaving a tingling sensation on the tongue.                                                   Avoid If...                          Because of Echinacea's effects on the immune system, you should not                         take this drug if you have multiple sclerosis, AIDS, tuberculosis, leukemia,                       and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.                                                 Do not take Echinacea injections if you have an allergy to the plant. Avoid                                                 them, too, if you have diabetes; they can upset the balance of the                                                   metabolism.                                                   Special Cautions                          You should not take Echinacea for longer than 8 weeks.                                                 Echinacea does not have side effects when taken orally at customary                                                   dosage levels. However, when Echinacea extract is given intravenously it                       can lead to shivers, short-term fever, and very rarely an immediate allergic                       reaction.                                                   Possible Drug Interactions                          No interactions have been reported.                                                 Special Information If You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding                                                 Do not take Echinacea purpurea injections if you are pregnant.                                                   How To Prepare                          Echinacea angustifolia root is often made into a tea. Pour boiling water                         over one-half teaspoonful of crushed root, steep for 10 minutes, and strain.                                                   Typical Dosage                          Echinacea pallida is usually taken orally. The daily dosage is 900                         milligrams taken in a 50% alcohol solution (tincture).                                                 The usual daily dosage of Echinacea purpurea leaf is 6 to 9 milliliters                                                 (about 11/4 to 13/4 teaspoonfuls) of expressed juice.                                                 Echinacea purpurea root is taken in tincture form. The usual daily dosage                                                 is 30 to 60 drops taken 3 times a day.                                                   If you are taking Echinacea angustifolia tea for a cold, drink a freshly made                       cup several times a day.                                                 The potency and form of commercial preparations may vary. Follow the                                                 manufacturer's instructions whenever available.                                                 If you are using the root, store it away from light, and do not crush until                                                   you are ready to make a preparation.                                                   Overdosage                          No information on overdosage is available