What Is Echinacea?
Echinacea is a herb mainly found in the United States and Canada. It’s a remarkable flowering plant of the daisy family that was used in Western medicine for a long time. Nowadays, Echinacea is a common ingredient in many cold remedies, so it is not strange that this unique plant is considered a helpful cold vitamin in medicine.
Depending on the species, Echinacea has a seed head or also known as a cone that has fascinating spikes on it in red or dark brown colour. The cone is surrounded by beautiful petals in pink or purple colour. Given the fact that there are several species, three of them are mainly used in medicine in herbal remedies for boosting the immune system.
Health Benefits of Using Echinacea
One of the most significant benefits of taking Echinacea is that it boosts the immune system and helps your body fight the common cold. By taking an Echinacea supplement, you’re helping your body fight colds or other infections and reduce the symptoms. This, on the other hand, will speed up the healing process, which is the goal. Some people even use it to prevent catching a cold or flu. You can enjoy these benefits thanks to the plant’s phenols which have proven excellent in controlling the activity of numerous enzymes and cell receptors. The best of all is that phenols have beneficial antioxidant properties from which the human body can benefit a lot.
As we already said, besides the common cold and flu, this cold vitamin can aid in numerous health conditions like ear infections, bronchitis, coughs, upper respiratory infections, gingivitis, yeast infection, canker sores, HIV, AIDS, etc. Except for its own, Echinacea can also combine with other things like zinc, vitamin C, garlic, etc. Usually, Echinacea comes in tablets, capsules and drops. However, it can also be used fresh or dried in teas and soups.
How Does It Work?
In simple words, Echinacea supports the immune system by helping a certain group of immune cells fight. In other words, these immune cells can ingest bacteria and other foreign substances that can destroy them. Regarding the dosage, to ensure that you’re taking the needed dose of Echinacea, you’ll have to follow the supplement’s direction of use on the label. This is paramount since not all Echinacea supplements have the same amount of active ingredients in them.
Usually, doctors recommend avoiding taking them on an empty stomach. Instead, it’s recommended to take it with food and with a large glass of water. They also say that it’s best if you take them no more than a few weeks because there are no studies for long-term use.
Are There Any Side Effects of Using Echinacea?
Some of the most common side effects of taking Echinacea are nausea, an upset stomach and dizziness. Although this is rare, there’s a chance of some severe side effects appearing. Some of them are swelling, rash and difficulty breathing. Those who have asthma can experience only worse symptoms after taking Echinacea. Nevertheless, consulting with a doctor before taking Echinacea is paramount, even more so if any side effects appear after taking it.
Which Vitamin Is Used for Cold?
Since boosting the immune system is essential, especially when having a cold, aside from Echinacea, you also shouldn’t forget about taking your daily dose of vitamin C. Practice shows that this vitamin is quite helpful in easing cold and flu symptoms.
Who Should Avoid Taking Echinacea?
Generally speaking, Echinacea is safe and can be used by many people. However, there are some restrictions in its use by people with autoimmune disorders and tuberculosis. You should consult with your doctor prior to taking Echinacea if you regularly take some other medicines or if you have some kind of chronic condition. When taken with some other medications, Echinacea may reduce their effectiveness or even cause some serious side effects. You should also talk to your doctor before taking Echinacea if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or if you’re taking some illegal drugs, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.
Finding these supplements and vitamins for cold is quite easy because they’re available in every well-stocked pharmacy. The idea is to choose a reputable and trustworthy brand since this is the only way you’ll receive the best and purest form of Echinacea. If you have trouble choosing the right supplement, you should consult with your doctor or pharmacist to help you make the right decision.