If you’re looking for the best echinacea supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Echinacea Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Echinacea Supplements
|#1||Nature’s Way Echinacea||More Info|
|#2||Solaray Organic Echinacea Root||More Info|
|#3||Gaia Herbs Echinacea Supreme||More Info|
|#4||NOW Foods Echinacea||More Info|
|#5||Sundown Naturals Echinacea||More Info|
|#6||Oregon’s Wild Harvest Echinacea||More Info|
|#7||Pure Mountain Botanicals Echinacea||More Info|
|#8||Nature’s Bounty Echinacea||More Info|
|#9||Nature Made Echinacea||More Info|
|#10||Mediherb Echinacea Premium||More Info|
Echinacea counts as one of the most popular herbal remedies come cold and flu season, though this powerhouse supplement does more than just treat the common cold and flu virus. It’s an all-around good remedy that has been used to treat conditions as diverse as ADD/ ADHD, snake bites, and eczema.
What is Echinacea?
Echinacea is a plant in the daisy family that people have used medicinally for centuries, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center website. People refer to it as an herb, but actually it’s a coneflower plant. The leaves, blooms, and roots are all used to make herbal medicinal treatments.
According to an article on the University of Pittsburg website, echinacea became known to the settlers of the United States by the 1700s. In the late 1800s, knowledge of the herb moved to Europe, where it was championed by doctors in Germany.
The herb is popular as a medicinal herb among German doctors and researchers and much of what is known of it is due to the research the conducted by these professionals about the plant. In times past, echinacea was also used in America to treat various ailments, though its use fell out of favor once antibiotics were developed.
Although the use of echinacea goes back centuries, most of the scientific research about it was conducted from the 20th century forward. Since the 1930s, more than 400 journal articles have been published about the benefits of echinacea. Much of the research looked at how echinacea can be used to fight off bacterial infections, to treat wounds, to combat viral infections, and to assist in reducing inflammation.
Incidentally, echinacea is related to the rudbeckia hirta aka the Black-eyed Susan, which also has medicinal qualities.
People call echinacea by other names, including the “purple coneflower,” the “hedge coneflower,” and “purple echinacea,” according to the San Francisco Gate. It earned its name to because the spines of the flower resemble a hedgehog: Its name is derived from the Greek word “echinos,” which means hedgehog.
Benefits of Echinacea
Although it is known nowadays as the herbal supplement that people take to shorten the duration of a cold or to bolster their immune systems, it has been used throughout the centuries for all manner of ailments. The indigenous peoples of America used to treat ailments like malaria, scarlet feature, and syphilis.
But the list doesn’t end there. According to WebMD, nowadays, people take echinacea to treat the following ailments:
- UTIs (urinary tract infections)
- HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Swine flu
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Ear infections
- Bee stings
- Gum disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inhibit colon tumors
- Cold sores (herpes, the virus that causes them)
Echinacea is said to cut down the likelihood of catching the common cold by almost 60%.
Additionally, echinacea has been shown in lab tests to alleviate pain and inflammation. An article on the Dr. Axe website suggests that those who take echinacea for pain try putting a paste of echinacea directly on the sore spot or drink echinacea as a tea.
The herb also works as a pain-killer for these types of pains:
- Measles-related pain
- Sore throats
- Bowel pain
- Pain from gonorrhea and HSV
Additionally, echinacea is said to be an effective treatment for constipation. Consuming the herb in tea form works best for this type of treatment. It’s an effective overall treatment for the whole intestinal tract.
Finally, echinacea has been used to improve mental health. Aside from taking it for ADD/ ADHD, people have used the herb to treat anxiety, depression, and social phobias.
Are There Any Side Effects?
There are some side effects from echinacea. Echinacea also doesn’t mix well with other herbs, some medications, or vitamin and mineral supplements.
Minor side effects are said to be:
- Upset stomach
- Dry eyes
- Temporary tingling and numbing of tongue
Additionally, people with the following illnesses should avoid echinacea:
- Autoimmune disease
- MS (multiple sclerosis)
- HIV/ AIDS
Further, echinacea can cause some allergic reactions in some people. Allergic reactions to echinacea can include:
- Throat tightening
- Shortness of breath
People who are sensitive to or allergic to the daisy plant should avoid it as it is a member of the daisy family.
At the moment, no evidence suggests that pregnant women can’t take echinacea, though some concern about this still does exist.
Finally, people who take medications to suppress the immune system may find that echinacea counteracts the effects of the drugs they’re taking. In general, people who take prescription medications should chat with their doctors about echinacea and possible drug interactions.
How to Take Echinacea
Echinacea comes in many forms, including capsules, tablets, teas, tinctures, and ointments. The type of ailment really determines which form to take. For example, constipation is best treated with echinacea tea.
However, some herbalists recommend the tincture due to how easy it is to take and how well this format preserves the medicinal properties of the plant. That said, in this format, the herb can have an unpleasant taste. To counteract that, some tinctures are made with orange or peppermint added in. A glycerin tincture is the one to look for in this case: This form appeals to kids.
For conditions like topical pain or skin ailments, echinacea paste or ointment can be applied directly to the site of the pain.
Consumers should read the label on the supplement for best dosage recommendations.
Finally, some herbs like goldenseal are said to boost the good effects of echinacea. In one study, it showed that using echinacea and goldenseal together significantly improved the effectivness of each of the herbal remedies.
What this means is that each of these remedies bolsters a different part of the immune system or function. Because of this, using both of them is actually not redundant, but beneficial for those wanting to improve the overall strength of their immune systems.
What to Look for in a Good Echinacea Supplement
Echinacea can be bought in the following forms:
The University of Maryland Medical Center tells consumers that they should only buy products from reputable sources. These companies should be known as reputable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. The labels on the bottles should reveal how the supplement was made. That is to say that the label should reveal what parts of the plant were used to make the remedy. The label should also say if there is a mixture of different kinds of echinacea plants. (There are actually nine species of echinacea.) If this information isn’t on the bottle, then it is best that consumers look at another brand.
Fortunately, Dr. Oz show has taken some of the guesswork out of finding a good echinacea supplement. The Dr. Oz Show recommends the following brands of echinacea:
- Swanson Superior Herbs Elderberry Echinacea Goldenseal Immune Complex
- Gaia Herbs Echinacea Supreme Liquid
- A. Vogel Echinaforce
Of these, echinacea supplements made by Gaia and Swanson were checked out by ConsumerLabs.com. These were tested for heavy metals, pesticides, and other harmful materials.
For those looking for a tincture, the blend should be in a dark bottle to avoid the breakdown of the supplant in tincture form: Exposure to light will break it down. If the tincture makes the tongue tingle, that’s actually a good sign. The tincture contains alkylamides, an important chemical element of echinacea that boosts the immune system.