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Echinacea dosage and uses

Although Echinacea was popular during the 18th and 19th centuries, its use began to decline in theUnited Statesafter the introduction of antibiotics. Echinacea preparations became increasingly popular inGermanythroughout the 20th century. In fact, most of the scientific research on Echinacea has been conducted inGermany.

Today, people use Echinacea to shorten the duration of the common cold and flu and reduce symptoms, such as sore throat (pharyngitis), cough, and fever. Many herbalists also recommend Echinacea to help boost the immune system and help the body fight infections.

General Uses

Several laboratory and animal studies suggest that Echinacea contains active substances that enhance the activity of the immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. For this reason, professional herbalists may recommend Echinacea to treat urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast (candida) infections, ear infections (also known as otitis media), athlete’s foot, sinusitis, hay fever (also called allergic rhinitis), as well as slow-healing wounds.

Common Cold

It is under debate that Echinacea helps prevent or treat the common cold or not.

A 2007 study by the University of Connecticut combined findings from 14 previously reported trials examining Echinacea and concluded that Echinacea can cut the chances of catching a cold by more than half, and shorten the duration of a cold by an average of 1.4 days

A 2003 controlled double-blind study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and documented in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that Echinacea extracts had “no clinically significant effects” on rates of infection or duration or intensity of symptoms.

NCCAM is continuing to support the study of Echinacea for the treatment of upper respiratory infections. NCCAM is also studying Echinacea for its potential effects on the immune system.

Available Forms

Three species of Echinacea are commonly used for medicinal purposes: Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea. Many Echinacea preparations contain one, two, or even all three of these species. Different products use different parts of the Echinacea plant. This is why the effectiveness of Echinacea may differ from one product to another.

Echinacea (including one, two, or all three species) is available in extracts, tinctures, tablets, capsules, and ointments. It is also available in combination with other immune boosting herbs, vitamins, and minerals.

How to Take It

The above ground parts of the plant and roots of Echinacea are used fresh or dried to make teas, squeezed (expressed) juice, extracts, or preparations for external use.

According to European Medicines Agency (EMEA) recommendations:

It should not be used for more than 10 days. The use in children below 1 year of age is contraindicated, because of theoretically possible undesirable effect on immature immune system. The use in children between 1 and 12 years of age is not recommended, because efficacy has not been sufficiently documented although specific risks are not documented.


For general immune system stimulation, during colds, flu, upper respiratory tract infections, or bladder infections, choose from the following forms and take 3 times a day generally for 7 – 10 days:

1 – 2 grams dried root or herb, as tea

2 – 3 mL of standardized tincture extract

6 – 9 ml of expressed juice

300 mg of standardized, powdered extract containing 4% phenolics Tincture (1:5): 1 – 3 mL (20 – 90 drops) Stabilized fresh extract: 0.75 mL (15 – 23 drops). For slow healing wounds, creams or ointments should be applied as needed.

More than 800 products containing Echinacea are available. Supplements may contain different parts, or combine Echinacea with other herbs that have not been tested.

More information about Echinacea


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December 2018
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