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Echinacea, also known as coneflower, is a plant that not only stands out for its striking flowers, but also has a long history as a medicinal plant. In this comprehensive guide, we explore its discovery, its many uses and dosages, its role in the treatment of various diseases, dietary supplements and food sources, and possible side effects.

The discovery and historical use of echinacea

The discovery of echinacea as a medicinal plant goes back to the indigenous people of North America, who used the coneflower hundreds of years ago. European settlers learned about the plant from the Native Americans and it has since found its way into traditional and modern medicine. It was originally used to treat wounds, infections and as a general tonic to strengthen the immune system.

Dosage forms and dosage

Echinacea can be taken in various forms, e.g. as a tea, tincture, extract or capsule. The choice of dosage form often depends on personal preference and the particular application. The dosage may vary, but usually 300 to 500 mg is taken daily as an extract, which corresponds to several cups of tea or an equivalent number of capsules. It is recommended to stop taking it for a week after six to eight weeks to maximize its effectiveness.

Echinacea for the treatment of diseases

Echinacea is particularly valued for its immune-boosting properties. The plant is known to be helpful in the treatment and prevention of colds and flu-like infections. The active ingredients, including polysaccharides, glycoproteins and alkamides, stimulate the immune system and can help to reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms.

Research suggests that it may also be useful for other conditions due to its anti-inflammatory properties, including some skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. There is also evidence that it can aid recovery after surgery and speed up wound healing.

Food supplements and foods

To enhance the effects of echinacea, it may be useful to take it together with other supplements such as vitamin C, zinc and vitamin E. These substances are also known to support the immune system and can complement the effects of echinacea. In terms of diet, there are no specific foods that contain high amounts as it is a specialized medicinal plant. However, foods rich in the vitamins and minerals mentioned above, such as citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, can be a good supplement.

Echinacea: Possible side effects

Although echinacea is generally considered safe, some people may experience side effects, especially if they are allergic to other asteraceous plants. Possible side effects include skin rashes, stomach upset and dizziness. It is important to be cautious when first taking it and to discontinue use and seek medical advice if symptoms occur.

Use in naturopathy

In naturopathy, echinacea is often used as part of holistic therapeutic approaches. Traditional healers use the plant to strengthen the body’s own defenses and use its many therapeutic properties to promote health and well-being.

Echinacea has established itself in naturopathy as one of the most versatile and effective medicinal plants, which is highly valued for its immunomodulating effect. Whether for prevention or treatment, it offers a natural and effective alternative to synthetic medicines to promote health and prevent disease.

Echinacea: long-term effects and research perspectives

The long-term effects of echinacea are the subject of ongoing research. While short-term use is largely considered safe, there is little data to date on the long-term effects of continuous use. Of particular interest are possible effects on the immune system, especially the question of whether long-term stimulation of the immune system by echinacea could lead to an exaggerated reaction.

In addition, scientists are increasingly investigating its antioxidant properties, which may be effective against cancer cells. Research is still in its infancy, but the prospects are promising and the plant could play a role in complementary cancer therapy in the future.

Practical tips for the use of echinacea

To make the best use of echinacea, it is important to follow a few practical tips:

  • Product quality: Look for quality when buying echinacea products. The products should come from trustworthy manufacturers who carefully select and control their ingredients.
  • Start taking it: It is often recommended to start taking it as soon as the first symptoms of a cold appear in order to achieve full effectiveness.
  • Combination with other medicinal plants: Echinacea can be combined with other medicinal plants such as elderberry, ginger and chamomile , which also have a supportive effect on the immune system and colds.

Echinacea: sustainability and cultivation

The popularity of echinacea has meant that sustainability and organic cultivation have become important issues. To ensure that the plant’s resources are not exploited, many manufacturers rely on sustainable cultivation and fair trade practices. Organic cultivation not only contributes to environmental protection, but also ensures that the products are free from harmful chemicals.


Echinacea is still one of the most fascinating and popular medicinal plants in naturopathy. Its ability to strengthen the immune system and positively influence a wide range of illnesses makes it an indispensable part of the medicine cabinet. Used correctly and in accordance with dosage and safety instructions, it can help to promote and maintain health in a natural way. Research will continue to deepen our knowledge of this powerful plant and expand its areas of application so that future generations can benefit even more from its healing properties.

Published on: 17. April 2024


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