Echinacea (Zi Zhu Hua)
Botanical Name: Echinacea purpurea, E. Angustifolia, E. Pallida
Echinacea has been so heavily used by many cultures to heal wounds and remedy colds and flu that it is now an endangered species. Conservationists advise cultivating the plant in your garden instead of foraging for it in the wild, to protect natural plants and habitats.
Below is an overview of Echinacea, combining and interpreting the best of Western science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), shamanism, folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Echinacea.
Western Name: Echinacea
Also Known As: Cornflower, Purple Cornflower, Kansas Snakeroot
Organs/Systems: Skin, Sinuses, Immunity
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Immunostimulator for non-specific immune system, also as a Laxative. Alterative. Anti-microbial, snakebite, anthrax and pain relief. Antitumor, Anti-viral. Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial: prevent colds. Topically for: snakebite, stings, toothache and mumps. Can also drink tea for snakebites. Widely used for inflammation and infections. Typhoid, meningitis, malaria, diphtheria, herpes and influenza. Healing wounds.
Pin Yin: Zi Zhu Hua
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Lungs, Spleen
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Blood Cleanser, Stimulating, Restoring and Dissolving. Activates Immunity, Restrains Infection, Clears Toxins, Reduces Inflammation, Resolves Tumors and Relieves Pain, Promotes Tissue Repair and Arrests Discharge, Causes Sweating, Releases the Exterior, Scatters Wind Heat, Dredges Kidneys, Enlivens Lymph, Promotes Cleansing, Restores the Stomach.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Roots and Rhizomes (said to have more efficacious mixture of active chemicals), Stems, Flowers and Leaves; Flower petals can be used in salads, otherwise not a food plant
Flavors: Mild, Pungent, Salty, Cool and Dry
Caution: Orally no know side effects. Very safe.
History/Folklore: Historically used by Plain Indians for sore throat, headaches and analgesic. They observed elk eating the plants when the animals were sick or wounded. They identified those plants as “elk root” and started using the plant to treat snakebites and a wide variety of infections. News of this herb soon spread to Europe where it quickly became the most popular native medicinal plant imported from the new world. Today, cultivating this herb is a global, multi-million dollar industry.
Wide variety and complex. Phenols, cichoric acid, caftaric acid, alkylamides (fat soluble, inhibit tumor necrosis and can have similar potency as the THC compound in marijuana) and polysaccharides (which increase the rate of phgocytosis).
Echinacea is on the endangered plants list. So please only use “certified organically grown” instead of harvesting it from the wild.
Its name derives from the Greek meaning “hedgehog,” due to the plant’s spiny, central disk.
Echinacea belongs to the daisy/sunflower family.
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