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Echinacea, The Purple Coneflower

by Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries

May 1995

The key to being able to use herbs effectively, is keeping it simple. It is easy to be over-whelmed with all the different herbs and their usage.

Echinacea is a big, strange word for a 3 feet tall, pretty, purple flower. Echinacea is very effective in enhancing the immune system. It is slower than antibiotics but very effective in fighting infection.

The seed is easily found in flower seed catalogs. It is a perennial, which means once you plant it, you can expect to see it every year there after. Its roots multiply each year and will need to be divided every year or so—which is a blessing since the root is the most useful part. It will take a couple of years to get a substantial enough root system to not be damaged when you harvest the roots. But, the investment in good health is worth the wait.

The Cone Flower contains a chemical called hyaluronic acid that strengthens tissues against assault by invading micro-organisms. It is also effective against herpes and influenza. It is a wonderful help to a mother whose child has chronic ear ache or colds. It has proven so effective it is currently being used with AIDS patients to boost their immune system. It should not be used as a regular, daily supplement. Use it only when there is a reason to boost the immune system.

You can dry and grind the root or tops, then put it into capsules, which you can buy. Or, a simple tea can be simmered for immediate use. Tinctures are also easily made and are the most effective at drawing out the herb's properties.

Before you use herbs, you need to study and know what you are doing. Herbs should be treated with respect. Check out our herb books for more information on how to grow and use them.

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Did You Know?

Cayenne powder has been used by researchers in Antarctica to help them bear the extremely cold temperatures. The cayenne powder is sprinkled into their boots before putting them on. As the powder slowly comes in contact with the skin through the socks, it will draw blood to the feet, thus bringing much needed warms to the extremities. The one draw back is the red powder stains light colored socks. From our readings, it seems the stained socks were a small price to pay for the great benefit of being able to feel your toes after a little while out in the blistering cold! After trying this on a number of occasions during the winter near Lake Superior, I'm also convinced the stained socks are worth it.