Today, Echinacea is primarily used to reduce the symptoms and duration of the common cold and flu and to improve the symptoms of a cold, such as sore throat, cough, and fever. Echinacea has also been used throughout history to treat scarlet fever, syphilis, malaria, blood poisoning, and diphtheria. Herbalists also recommend Echinacea to help boost the activity of the immune system and to help the body fight infections. Many cultures can be directly associated with Echinacea. For example, Native Americans may have used Echinacea for over 400 years to treat infections and wounds and as a general "cure-all." Advancements in the research of Echinacea have been made in Germany to due to its increased popularity in The United States and Europe since the 1930s.
Echinacea is available in extracts, tinctures, tablets, capsules, and ointments or in a combination with other immune-boosting herbs, vitamins, and minerals, so because of the many different ways to use Echinacea, there are several ways to take it. One popular way that Echinacea is used is to try prevent a cold or flu by taking the herb throughout cold and flu season or just after exposure to an infection via a friend or loved one. This practice could be harmful though, as high doses of Echinacea over a substantial period of time (from six to eight weeks) can damage the liver.
Individuals with allergies to plants in the daisy family, tuberculosis, leukemia, diabetes, connective tissue disorders, multiple sclerosis, HIV or AIDS, any autoimmune diseases, or, possibly, liver disorders should not take Echinacea. There is some concern that Echinacea may reduce the effectiveness of medications that suppress the immune system.
Echinacea is one of the best selling herbal supplements today, and is designed to stimulate the immune system. It's made of show root and plant concentrate. There are things in it like calcium carbonate, cellulose, and Echinacea purpurea extract. Echinacea is made to strengthen the immune system, which would then result in a person being less susceptible to a type of illness such as the flu or cough.
Even though the recommended dosage has not been established, you can usually take one or two a day. It is also most commonly used during the winter months due to the susceptibility most people have to catch a cold during these months. Purportedly, if a dose is ingested immediately upon the onset of cold symptoms, and is taken every 2-4 hours, the immune system will successfully eliminate the infectious bacteria within one or two days.