How Echinacea Works (Re-visited...)

Since it is Fall, and colds and flu are just around the corner, I wanted to remind everyone again how Echinacea works.

There is a lot of misinformation that has led people to believe that taking Echinacea after you get a cold is effective.

But that won't work. Echinacea ramps up your immune system, but gradually over a few days. By the time it has an effect on your immune system, the cold is almost over anyway. This is true even if you megadose Echinacea at the start of a cold.

The best way to take Echinacea is as a preventive, daily with your multivitamins and other supplements. That keeps the levels of the active components of Echinacea in your system at all times, so your immune system is always armed and ready to fight invaders.

The other thing to remember is that not all Echinacea supplements are created equal. The species of Echinacea that has the strongest cold fighting effects on the immune system is Echinacea purpurea, and it is ONLY THE ROOT of Echinacea purpurea that is effective. Many Echinacea supplements contain plant parts (leaves and flowers) with little or no actual ROOT. These are not effective at all. They are essentially fillers.

Something like THIS or THIS would be good choices.

If you favor ORGANIC supplements, try THIS.

Echinacea tea may be effective against colds, but again it must be consumed DAILY and it must contain Echinacea purpurea ROOT.

THIS TEA from Yogi might be a good choice. It also contains GREEN TEA, rich in healthy antioxidants.

Echinacea and goldenseal combined supplements may be more effective than Echinacea alone for fighting colds. However, it is difficult to find these supplements that contain the proper form of Echinacea (i.e., Echinacea purpurea root). Many of these contain extracts of the whole Echinacea plant, much of which is useless filler. (Ironically, many of these use only the ROOT of goldenseal, but the whole Echinacea plant - usually multiple species - and that does not help us.)

You can take your chances with something like THIS COMBINATION EXTRACT.

I hope that was helpful. I worked 10 years in R&D at a vitamin company and learned a lot about alternative medicine working closely with health practitioners in the field. Take it or leave it. I'm not a doctor.

Visit the THE VITAMIN FUN HOUSE for more information and review many brands of Echinacea supplements.


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