Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia) is a medicinal plant belonging to the Composite family. Its therapeutic use dates back to the Indians of North America, who used echinacea for the external treatment of wounds and burns. Today it is known for its immunostimulating and antiviral properties, useful for promoting the immune system and treating cold symptoms. Let’s find out the characteristics and side effects of Echinacea.
Echinacea: characteristics and properties
Echinacea is a perennial herbaceous plant with slightly reddish stems, basal and petiolate leaves, and inflorescences with tubular flowers and purple ligulate flowers.
The root of echinacea is rich in polysaccharides which give the plant immunostimulating properties. The plant also contains echinacoside which has an antibiotic and bacteriostatic action.
Regular intake of echinacea also helps prevent and treat the symptoms of colds such as fever, cold and infections of the respiratory and urinary systems.
Echinacea is also used for external use, for the treatment of skin inflammations, in case of scars, canker sores and ulcers.
The side effects of Echinacea
Echinacea has no particular contraindications or serious side effects. It is important to keep in mind its immunostimulating action, which makes it contraindicated in patients on immunosuppressive therapy (transplants, autoimmune diseases).
Some side effects can occur when there is a known allergy to the plant. It is not recommended to use during pregnancy, breastfeeding and for children under the age of one year as some species of echinacea may contain compounds that are toxic to the liver.