Echinacea, being indigenous to North America, was thus widely used by Indians as a medication against colds, flu, and other infections; applied topically it could cure different wounds (cuts, burns, and insect bites). Actually, preparations made of this plant were believed to be a “cure-all” medicine, able to heal any disease – from cough to cancer.
Echinacea is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family, Asteraceae. The nine species it contains are commonly called purple coneflowers. They are endemic to eastern and central North America, where they are found growing in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas. They have large, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming from early to late summer. The generic name is derived from the Greek word ἐχῖνος (echino), meaning "spiny," due to the spiny central disk. Some species are used in herbal medicines and some are cultivated in gardens for their showy flowers. A few species are of conservation concern.
the official plant
Echinacea consists of the dried roots of Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, or Echinacea pallida (Compositae/ Asteraceae), herbaceous perennial plants indigenous to North America, and widely cultivated for their large daisy-like flowers, which are usually purple or pink.
Activity has variously been assigned to lipophilic alkamides, polar caffeic acid derivatives, high molecular weight polysaccharide material, or to a combination of these. Compounds in each group have been demonstrated to possess some pertinent activity, e.g. immunostimulatory, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, or antiviral effects. The alkamides comprise a complex mixture of unsaturated fatty acids as amides with 2-methylpropanamine (isobutylamine) or 2-methylbutanamine, amines which are probably decarboxylation products from valine and isoleucine respectively. The acid portions are predominantly C11 and C12 diene-diynes or tetraenes. These compounds are found throughout the plant, though relative proportions of individual components vary considerably. The root of Echinacea purpurea contains at least 12 alkamides (about 0.6%), of which C12 diene-diynes predominate; levels of these compounds fall significantly during drying and storage. Caffeic acid derivatives present include caffeic acid (see page 149), chlorogenic acid (5-O-caffeoylquinic acid, see page 150), caftaric acid (2-O-caffeoyltartaric acid), and cichoric acid (2,3-di-O-caffeoyltartaric acid) (Figure 3.13). Cichoric acid is a major component (0.6–2.1%) in Echinacea purpurea, but only minor in the other species.
TRADITIONAL MEDICINAL USES
The root is used as an anti venin
Hot water extract of the dried leaf is taken orally for inflammations
Decoction of the fresh leaf, and root are taken orally to treat sore mouth and gums. Externally, the decoction is used to relieve pain, and the tea is rubbed onto the sore neck. The tea, when allowed in contact with sore tooth, relieves toothache. Hot water extract of the rhizome is taken orally as an aphrodisiac, Hot water extract of the rhizome and root is used externally as an antiseptic. The extract is taken orally as a peripheral vasodilator, for headaches, to treat enlarged glands and for stomach cramps. Fluid extract of the dried rhirome and root is taken orally in 2 to 4 gram doses as a sudorific in malaria, to improve the appetite, to treat the bites of poisonous snakes and insects, as a diaphoretic, diu retic, aphrodisiac, cholagogue, analgesic, to treat tuberculosis and as a blood purifier in treating such conditions as septicemia, typhoid fever, furunculosis, carbundes. abscesses, diptheria, and gangrene.
PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL TRIALS
Tincture of the dried root, administered subcutaneously to male adults at variable dosage levels, produced analgesia for 10 to 30 minutes. No adverse effect was noted.
Extract of the root, taken orally by adults, produced a numbing effect
Extract of the entire plant, in combination with lactic acid, was active when taken orally
another activities like:
Antimycobacterial activity - Antitoxic activity - - Antiviral activity - Cardiotoxic activity - Cytotoxic activity - Diaphoretic activity - Glutamate oxaloacetate transaminaseinhibition - Glutamate pyruvate transaminase inhibition - Hemagglutinin activity - Hyaluronidase inhibition - Immunostimulant activity - Mitogenic activity - Mutagenic activity - Phagocytosis rate increase - Phagocytosis stimulation - Wound healing acceleration
Paul M Dewick Medicinal Natural Products
Ivan A Ross Medicinal Plants of the World