EchinaceaEchinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida
Utilized by Native American peoples as an all-purpose remedy for generations, echinacea now finds itself in everything from tea and tincture, to supplement tablets, for its contribution to immune support.*
Echinacea, a staple for immune support.
What are the Benefits of Echinacea?
When it comes to maintaining seasonal wellness, echinacea is an essential supportive herb during the winter cold . The key to echinacea’s medicinal benefits lies deep in its compounds, which, depending on the species, include varying amounts of alkylamides, polysaccharides, and glycoproteins—all of which contribute to the herb’s affinity for the immune system.*
Echinacea’s beneficial compounds are found in all parts of the plant, but are most concentrated in the roots. The tingly alkylamide molecules in echinacea which fire up immunity are best preserved in ethanolic extracts. The polysaccharides and glycoproteins fortify the immune system over time and are best extracted with hot water, making a hot tea one of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of this herb.* Of the two most commonly used species of echinacea, E. angustifolia and E. purpurea, E. angustifolia is considered to have more immune-boosting phytochemistry.*
Folklore & Historical Use of Echinacea
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 herbal remedy for generations.
In the mid-1800s the American Eclectic physicians began to use echinacea and its use spread to Europe, where it gained even more popularity. By the beginning of the 20th century, it was one of the most frequently plants 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.
Botanical Description & Habitat
Echinacea is a coarse, rough-hairy, herbaceous perennial that is native to moist prairies, meadows and open woods of the central to southeastern United States.
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.”
When To Use Echinacea
Drink consistently at the onset of immune support needs.
Keep handy once the weather turns cold.
The Business of Sustainable Plants
Our business is rooted in plants, and for us, it’s a business imperative that we care for the ecosystems where these plants live and thrive. We believe that everything is interconnected, which means supporting ecosystems and the farmers and collectors who harvest and gather our herbs. Finding opportunities to reduce or eliminate emissions at the source, we support organic and regenerative farming practices as well as voluntary certifications like Organic and FairWild. These ensure the absence of pesticides, herbicides, as well as the ongoing sustainability of wild collection, and the health and livelihoods of the collectors who forage. Josef Brinckmann, Traditional Medicinals’ Research Fellow, Medicinal Plants and Botanical Supply, asserts, “Everyone has a role to play in preserving biological diversity. One way of doing that is by equitably supporting the local people to serve as stewards of the land.”
It Starts with Organic
We choose to source organic because we believe in the positive impacts it has on environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and overall ecosystem health. Organic helps us increase transparency while prioritizing consumer well-being and farmer success, which is key to producing the high-quality herbs we source. In 2021, we procured 2.73 million pounds of certified organic herbs, over 99.7% of our total botanical herbs purchased. Volumes were down slightly from FY20 due to timing of inventories received.
The impact from organic farming creates a vital ecosystem through improved soil health, water quality, pollinator habitats, and biodiversity. Organic farms also have increased carbon sequestration potential through long-term carbon storage in the soil, helping to mitigate climate change.
One of the benefits of organic that we most value is farmer health. We care deeply about the people who produce our herbs, ensuring that they are not exposed to synthetic chemicals found in conventional agriculture.
We believe that everyone deserves a fair wage for hard work. That’s one of the reasons why we’re committed to fair trade. Traditional Medicinals® is a registered Fair Trade “brand holder”, “licensee” and “manufacturer,” and our products are certified by Fair Trade USA, an independent third-party certifier. We were an early adopter of Fair Trade, having launched our first fair trade tea product in 1998, just one year after Fairtrade International (FLO) was established. We continue to work closely with our network of producers to help them to implement fair trade standards and get certified.
Consult your healthcare practitioner prior to use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding; or if you have an auto-immune or other immune system disorder, or of you are taking immunosuppressants.
Do not consume this herb if you are allergic to plants in the daisy (Asteraceae) family, such as chamomile or Echinacea. Not recommended for use with children under 12 years of age.
The information and other content in this article is designed to provide a general overview of the botany, cultural history, and traditional uses of this herb. It is not intended and should not be construed as health advice. Every person is unique and you should consult with your health care provider before using any herbal product or supplement.