How to Use Echinacea: A Potent Medicinal Herb
Echinacea is my hands-down favorite herb, and I always have it in stock in my natural medicine cabinet. Unfortunately, people have misused this popular herb, and they also have over-harvested wild echinacea.
People use echinacea in all the wrong ways. Adding echinacea to your soap isn’t going to do much, but when used correctly, it’s a powerhouse herb to keep in your home.
Let’s take a look at when and how you should use echinacea. Herbs are only effective if used properly.
What is Echinacea?
Before we dive into how to use echinacea, have you ever wondered what this herb really is? It’s been used extensively historically and throughout modern times.
Echinacea is a flowering plant in the same family as the daisy. It’s known as purple coneflower, and many people grow this powerful herb without realizing that its a powerhouse herb. It’s a great herb to grow in your backyard medicinal garden.
We know that this herb has been used for centuries as a remedy for sore throats and against strep throat. Its ability to ward off a cold or flu has been studied extensively.
This herb has 9 species of this plant, but Echinacea purpurea is the most commonly used species for home remedies. Some of the species are considered endangered, so we wouldn’t want to use those anyway.
When to Use Echinacea
You’re Developing a Cold
You know that feeling that you get when you’re starting to get a cold? It’s in the early stages, and you just KNOW, without a doubt, you’re getting sick. That’s the BEST time to use echinacea.
Echinacea boosts the immune system, so it’s going to encourage your body to fight off whatever is making you feel poorly. You should take it with elderberry syrup as well; they make an excellent pairing.
I’m a huge fan of using echinacea tinctures when I have a cold. It’s safe for kids. If you don’t have time to create a tincture, I like the Herb Pharm Kids brand, which doesn’t have a strange taste. I give it to my kids when they have a cold or feel crappy. Herb Pharma sells an adult version of this tincture as well.
You Have a Sore Throat
Do you have a sore throat? Echinacea can do wonders when it comes to reducing the pain and inflammation. This herb does wonders for sore throat and strep throat, but I do encourage you to seek a doctor if you feel like you have strep throat.
You Have a Cut, Wound, or Topical Infection
Echinacea aids your body in the fight against infections. You can take it internally to help your immune system address an infection or apply topically. Not only does it work on cuts or small wounds, but you can also use it for boils and abscesses.
How to Use Echinacea
Remember that this herb does lose its effectiveness if you use it all the time. It’s best to save it for when you need it. I’m always finding new ways to use this herb.
1. Sore Throat Spray
If you have a sore throat, mix some echinacea tincture in a glass spray bottle with water. Spray the back of your throat every 15-20 minutes until the pain subsides.
Reformation Acres has an effective throat spray recipe to try.
2. Echinacea Tea
Another favorite of mine is echinacea tea. Whenever I feel a bit of a cold coming on, I drink some of this tea. Try some of that echinacea honey listed further down.
3. Echinacea Tincture
You don’t have to purchase echinacea tincture if you don’t want. You can easily make the tincture at home with the dried herb and high-proof vodka. Let it sit in the jar for 4-6 weeks, so you’ll need to prepare ahead of time.
4. An Echinacea Salve
I love to make salves. An echinacea salve can be used over wounds and infections. To make this salve, you’ll have to start with an infused oil. Then, cook the infused oil with beeswax and a mixture of other ingredients, such as coconut oil or shea butter.
5. Honey Infused with Echinacea
When you feel a bit of a cold coming on, most people turn to drink hot tea, especially if you’re like me. Honey is a commonly used sweetener for hot tea.
Homespun Seasonal Living shows you how to make a honey echinacea infusion. Once made, you can use it in your hot tea when you feel a bit of a cold coming on you.
6. Mix with Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry syrup is a beloved herbal remedy for colds. Why not mix some echinacea into it as well? You can add a few teaspoons of echinacea tincture or cook dried herbs in with the mixture before you strain the berries and herbs out.
7. Echinacea Cough Syrup
Considering the benefits, making a cough syrup from this herb makes total sense. The obvious choice for a base will be honey, but then you can change and use whatever herbs you want. Mint would be an excellent choice as well.
Check out the recipe by My Merry Messy Life.
Give it a Try
You’ll never know if you like using echinacea if you don’t try it. One of my goals this year is to better my herbal knowledge. If you want to learn how to use echinacea and other herbs for medicinal purposes in your daily life, check out some of the courses by Herbal Academy, such as the Introductory Herbal Course. It’s fantastic!
Thank you for the reminder! I have a bunch I need to wildcraft just down the road from me and I keep forgetting. We’re so blessed to have it growing in such abundance here. The place where I always fail is processing the roots right away – cleaning, peeling, chopping, drying. I walk off to do other things only to come back later and it’s much harder to get all that done on a semi-dry root!
I love Echinacea as an immune booster before winter! My favorite variation is tincture with propolis. 🙂
I’ve used echinacea as tea and tincture, but have never even considered using it as a salve! That’s a cool idea.
I love the ideas of adding echinacea into honey and into elderberry syrup, too. Great article…thank you!
Love these ideas! I just finished learning more about echinacea in my herbal studies but this gives me even more ideas of how to use it!
Hi Bethany! Great information! I would like to plant some of the wild echinacea for harvesting and for the wildlife. 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing on Farm Fresh Tuesdays!