We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Echinacea?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Echinacea is an herb that is very popular for use in treatment of colds and flu. Also known as American Coneflower, it was used for centuries by Native Americans before the arrival of European explorers. In the 1800s, its use took off in the United States, and the herb became popular in Europe as well. Echinacea is used in many Western nations because it is believed to promote immune system health and minimize some of the symptoms of sickness.

A perennial plant, Echinacea reaches 1 foot (30 centimeters) to 2 feet (60 centimeters) in height when it is mature. The plant is slightly spiky and has large pink to purple flowers, depending on the variety. The center of the flower forms a cone or seed head that is also spiky and dark brown to red in color. Three species are used for medicinal purposes: Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea.

The entire plant is used medicinally. It can be dried for use or pressed when fresh to extract juice. Echinacea is found in teas, ointments, pills, juice, as an extract, and combined with other herbs and fruits. Most that is commercially available is a mixture of the three major species. Consumers should be aware that, because holistic herbs have less regulation than conventional drugs, packages labeled as containing Echinacea may not in fact contain the plant.

Echinacea is believed to be a safe herb when used correctly. Studies indicate that it is safe for use by pregnant women and children. For adults, a number of preparations are available to be taken several times a day. For children, extracts that contain alcohol should be avoided. Some individuals may have allergic reactions to Echinacea, including rash and anaphylaxis in extreme cases. People with asthma or weed allergies may want to avoid consuming this plant.

Proponents of Echinacea believe that doses of the herb can prevent colds or shorten the recovery time from a cold, especially when taken in combination with other herbs. If cold symptoms persist, professional medical attention should be sought, especially if the cold is accompanied by high fever, heavy coughing, or an increasing sense of exhaustion. Echinacea should not be used by people who have auto-immune disorders or degenerative nerve disease.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon66626 — On Feb 20, 2010

I recently read an article in a men's health magazine about echinacea, how taking 8,000 mg a day for 30 days can enhance a man's performance and also procure other positive results in health benefits.

How can I be sure that the product I buy will actually have this natural herb, even though the package would indicate so?

By anon36031 — On Jul 09, 2009

How do I dry, store and make the tea from the echinacea plant

By davedward — On May 22, 2008

I have to take anti coagulant daily ( known as WARFARIN in the UK ) is echinacea compatible?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.