Chances are you've heard about echinacea before, it's become a popular addition to many health products and supplements. This anti-viral herb is especially well-known for its cold and flu fighting properties which many swear by as their number 1 natural remedy to keep on-hand during the colder winter months.
However, this plant with its pretty pink flower offers a number of other health benefits worthy of being featured in our Superfood Series", or in this case a more appropriate term would be "Superherb".
What Is Echinacea?
Belonging to the daisy family of plants, echinacea is the name given to 9 flowering species native to North America. Of the three types used medicinally in natural remedies and supplements, Echinacea purpurea is the most common. The plant's roots, stems, leaves and flowers are all used in various products to make tablets, extracts and teas.
Echinacea Biochemical & Nutritional Profile
Echinacea is packed full of antioxidants and various other chemicals that are known to provide positive health benefits, these include:
- Vitamin C
- Cichoric acid
- Rosmarinic acid
As the name suggests, antioxidants are molecules that help to protect the body's cells from oxidative stress, associated with many chronic health conditions. Echinacea's alkamides serve to enhance the beneficial effects of antioxidants.
Traditional & Medicinal Uses
First used by Native Americans, in the later part of the 19th century it started to become recognised and used by many mainstream physicians to treat a range of conditions ranging from dysentery and syphillis to colds, coughs and respiratory infections. Although the effectiveness of using echinacea for some of these conditions has been debated, modern research has indicated that this medicinal herb is in fact beneficial in several different ways...
Key Health Benefits Of Echinacea
Thanks to its diverse array of antioxidants and other compounds, echinacea offers a number of key health benefits, especially in regards to those relating to immunity.
Colds & Flu
As a result of its anti-viral properties, echinacea is most commonly used as a herbal remedy to help fight the common cold. Researchers believe that echinacea's ability to combat virus microbes is due to it helping the body produce "phagocytes" - cells which consume foreign particles such as bacteria and viruses.
As the saying goes "prevention is better than cure". Studies have indicated that by regularly taking echinacea supplements, you can even possibly reduce your risk of getting a cold, in the first place, by up to 50%.
In addition to it stimulating phagocytic activity, echinacea is also considered a "nonspecific immunomodulator". This means that it helps promote overall immune system function thanks to its numerous active substances which are beneficial in this regard. Certain test-tube studies indicated that echinacea extracts may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and even trigger them to die.
Other studies demonstrated that regularly consuming echinacea can provide anti-inflammatory effects. This system-wide reduction of inflammation could be beneficial for those who suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and uveitis (eye inflammation).
Learn More: How To Fight Inflammation
Blood Sugar Levels
Studies have shown that echinacea may help lower blood sugar levels by suppressing enzymes that digest carbohydrates. This then leads to a reduction to the amount of sugar entering the blood.
Thanks to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, research found that echinacea can help control the growth of bacteria responsible for causing acne as well as promote the repair and healing of the skin's top layer. Other studies have shown that when included in skin care products, it can also improve skin hydration and even reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Other Echinacea Benefits
In addition to physical health, echinacea also potentially offers some benefits for mental health.
Recent research uncovered that the alkamides, rosmarinic acid and caffein acid contained in echinacea can possibly help to reduce some of the anxious feeling associated with the commonly experienced condition of anxiety.
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In addition to Echinacea, we also include Turmeric, which has an active ingredient called curcumin, that greatly helps boost the immune system.
DEFEND Immunity SuperBooster uses Phenoh’s perfect pH delivery system and also contains Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Zinc for the body’s natural immune responses.
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