Have you tried everything and nothing seems to be reducing that sneeze, lousy feeling and running nose? Could herbal remedy such as the Echinacea tea save the day? The Echinacea purpurea plant extracts make Echinacea tea. Some people also use E. angustifolia and E. pallida in making the tea.
Echinacea tea has a tongue-tingling taste. Most herbal makers regard the tongue tingling quality as evidence of the effectiveness of the tea. Combine the Echinacea with some herbal plants such as the lemongrass and mint for the tea to have a pleasant taste. If you still cannot tolerate the taste, you can even consume the Echinacea in tablet and tinctures.
The tea has no caffeine as most would expect. Therefore, the herbal tea does not give you the energy boost you get after taking caffeinated teas. Unlike traditional tea, making herbal tea requires only the Camellia sinensis plant.
Echinacea tea has been popular for centuries as a herbal remedy. Today, it is common in the treatment and prevention of viruses that cause flu, colds, and sore throats. You can buy echinacea products in most health food stores and drug store. They come in the form of liquid extracts, capsules, teas, pills, and dried herbs.
Does it Work for a Cold?
You can use Echinacea as a dietary supplement for infections like the common cold. It works by stimulating the immune system. It, hence, assists the body in doing a better job when it comes to fighting the common cold infection. It also ensures that the disease does not last long. Other people take it when they are well as a measure to prevent getting infections.
Studies reveal various results. The Extracts of Echinacea have been proven to affect the body’s immunity. Research attributes this to its ability to increase white blood cells. White blood cells are components in blood that fight infections (1).
Besides, Echinacea has a mix of complex substances, most of which are said to be antimicrobial. All the species of this plant have a compound called Phenols. The compound controls the plant’s cell receptors and enzymes. Also, it protects the plant from UV radiation damage and plant’s infections. The Phenol has antioxidant properties which are important for human health.
Does it Work?
Scientists from the University Of Connecticut School Of Pharmacy reviewed more than twelve studies. They concluded that Echinacea reduces a person’s chance of getting common cold by 58 percent. The herbal reduces the length of time common cold lasts by 1.4 days (2).
Conversely, a review of studies published in 2014 showed that the herbal cure had minimal benefits in the prevention of cold. Also, the two studies that were funded heavily by the Nationals Center for the Complementary and the Integrative Health didn’t find any link between Echinacea and cure to the common cold in children and adults (3).
Sometimes it is hard to compare results from studies as they base the survey on different plant parts. It is possible that some types are better than others. It is also possible that herbal medicine can work against some people and work well in others. Furthermore, there are more than 200 viruses that cause common colds.
It is advisable that you communicate with your family physician before you even start using Echinacea to treat common cold or flu. They will tell you if it will interfere with any other medicines you are taking. They will also advise you on the dosage of Echinacea you should take.
What are its side effects?
A study done by the National Institute of Health show Echinacea is safe for use by most people. However, people who are allergic to the daisy plants, ragweed, marigolds, and mums often experience side effects.
Some of the minor adverse effects the of Echinacea tea include dizziness, stomach upset, and nausea. In other people, serious side effects may reveal, including difficulty breathing, rash, and swelling. Asthmatic people should avoid it as it can worsen the asthma symptoms. Ensure to reach out to your doctor in case you experience any side effects (4).
Echinacea is not safe for everyone. If you have the following conditions, you should avoid Echinacea at all cost.
- An autoimmune disorder like the lupus
- HIV & AIDS (5)
Additionally, if you are on immunosuppressant drugs, you should avoid Echinacea (6). The Echinacea tea often interacts with these drugs and may affect the drug’s effectiveness. Researchers recommend that if the following apply to you, you should talk to your physician before taking Echinacea:
- You have a chronic condition, or you are supposed to take daily medications. Echinacea often interacts with some medication and may cause serious side effects or reduce their effectiveness.
- You are either pregnant or are breastfeeding
- You take alcohol, smoke, or do illegal drugs.
- Undergoing eyelid surgery.
Dosage and Preparation
There is no stipulated daily dose of Echinacea. You can purchase Echinacea tea bag or just tea in many health food stores. The following are the steps to preparing Echinacea tea:
- Dry the purple, cone-shaped flower, its leaves, and roots before making the tea.
- Thoroughly wash the Echinacea roots, leaves or flowers and place them in your teacup.
- Boil water and let it sit for a few minutes for the temperatures to slightly reduce.
- Pour 8 ounces of your water on the plant’s parts
- Let it steep for 15 minutes. It takes longer than steeping caffeinated tea.
- Strain to remove the plant’s parts.
- Flavor it using ginger, mint, or honey for a better taste.
Does it kill the good bacteria?
No, Echinacea boosts the immunity but is not necessarily antibiotic. Therefore, unlike the prescribed antibiotics, Echinacea does not interfere with the bacteria, whether good or bad. Thus, it does not have any effect on gut health. Some people experience nausea and stomach aches, but these are just side effects.
Is Echinacea safe if I am kind of allergic to ragweeds?
Echinacea extracts come from the coneflowers which are closely related to the ragweed, sunflower, and daisies. An allergic reaction to the marigolds, ragweed and mums mean that Echinacea will also give you an allergy.