December 19, 2007

by David Christopher, MH, AHG
Echinacea (eke-nay-shuh) is the common and Latin name of an herb that can be used by practically everyone.  The quick action effectiveness of this member of the daisy family simply amazes all from the novice to the licensed professional.  Echinacea simply stimulates the immune system.  Because of this stimulating effect Echinacea is touted for a myriad of uses.
Principle among these uses is its wonderful effect on colds and flu.  One of the active compounds of this native plant which is only indigenous to the United States and bordering Canada , are polysaccharides (large sugar molecules).  These water soluble compounds need to be taken orally for full effect, for they may be broken down in the digestive process.  An extract, tea or chewing the root will stimulate immune receptor cells located in the mouth.  In that the cell structure of these compounds is structurally similar to invading micro-organisms and poisonous compounds, exposure to these immune receptor cells sends an alarm to the immune system and the immune cells respond through increased mobility and increased numbers.  There are other immune stimulating compounds (i.e. isobutyl amides) found in Echinacea that are fat soluble and would by pass the first stages of digestion thus stimulating immune cells in the Peyers patches located in the intestinal tract.  These fat soluble compounds would allow encapsulated Echinacea to also be effective.  Because colds and flues are caused by viruses, antibiotics not only will not work but become very contra indicated for they compromise the immune system which is the only thing that can protect the body.  For best results start using Echinacea at the first signs of illness.  Use an extract like Kid-e-mune (which my two little grandsons just love to take) and stimulates those receptor cells. If you wait too long, not even Echinacea can help your immune system catch up.  At this point you will need the added remedy of garlic, 16 fresh crushed cloves per day.
For a printable version of this article please visit: