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Echinacea 101

Updated on December 5, 2019
Originally Posted in Plants on

The colorful echinacea plant has become a household name, thanks to its amazing immune-boosting properties.* More commonly known as “coneflower,” this plant is native to North America but has also made its way to Europe, where it has become firmly integrated into Western herbal tradition. Our herbalists formulated Echinacea Plus®, Echinacea Plus® Elderberry, and Throat Coat® Lemon Echinacea teas, using Echinacea purpurea, one of the genus’ most medicinal species. Understanding that every part of the echinacea plant contains valuable active compounds, our herbalists utilize the whole plant – from flower to root – ensuring you receive a high-quality dose of plant medicine.

All members of the Echinacea genus are perennials that bloom with both disk and ray flowers. The purple ray flowers attach to a round, high and spiky cone—hence its common name “purple coneflower.” Technically speaking, this cone is actually composed of hundreds of flowers, all tightly packed together, which is how the plant got its botanical name: echin, derived from the Greek word ekhinos for “hedgehog.”

The entire Echinacea genus is indigenous to North America and originally dwelled in prairie lands, where Native American tribes have used it as an all-purpose remedy for generations. In the mid-1800s the American Eclectic physicians began to use echinacea, and its healing powers reached Europe, where it gained even more popularity. By the beginning of the 20th century it was one of the most frequently used herbal medicines in the United States, which eventually led to the widespread overharvesting of this wild perennial. Thanks to the conservation and public education efforts of the United Plant Savers, cultivated echinacea is now available for widespread use in many regions of the world.

When it comes to maintaining seasonal wellness, echinacea makes a fabulous supportive herb as we face the winter woes. The key to echinacea’s benefits lies deep in its compounds, which, depending on the species, are made up of alkylamides, polysaccharides, and glycoproteins—all of which contribute to the herb’s immune-boosting powers.* It’s not surprising then, that echinacea is one of the most well-studied and celebrated plants in herbalism today.

So when you’re feeling like you need a plant ally to give you a boost, think of echinacea. Our Echinacea Plus® teas are great formulas if you are in need to boost your immune system so you can stay vibrant, active and well.* Now when you see a beautiful echinacea flower while you are out and about, its radiant purple flowers and sturdy structure will remind you of just how powerful this plant really is.