is one herb that has become a "household" name. Echinacea looks like a large purple daisy with a center cone that is very hard and spiny. These spines probably give the plant its name, since sea animals with spines are called "echinoderms". Echinacea is indigenous to the U.S., growing wild in many areas and cultivated in gardens. There are actually nine different species of the plant, but two are mostpopular as therapeutic remedies: Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea.
Echinacea has a long history of use by Native Americans for a wide variety of health conditions including stings, poisoning, toothaches, swollen glands, colds, sore throats and snakebites. The plant was one of the most popular herbal remedie prescribed by the Eclectic Physicians in the U.S. in the early
Current research into the effectiveness of Echinacea supports the herb's historical use - it is a plant with very potent immune stimulating
properties. The herb is listed in the German Commission E Monograph (a leading international authoritative on the usefulness, safety and efficacy of herbs) for the following applications: colds and chronic infections of
both the respiratory tract and lower urinary tract; topically for chronic ulcerations and slow healing wounds. Echinacea has also been shown to
improve the cell's resistance to viruses before the onset of a viral infection, so it can be used preventatively as well if exposed to people with colds or flu. Other research has focused on Echinacea's possible uses with psoriasis, early rheumatoid arthritis and as an anti-inflammatory.
Most herbal practitioners suggest using Echinacea short term because of evidence suggesting that it loses its effectiveness over extended periods. Also, in the case of autoimmune illnesses, such as AIDS,
some believe Echinacea may OVER-stimulate the immune system, although there is no solid research to back this contention. The German Commission E Monograph lists no known drug interactions or side-effects when using
Echinacea with prescription medications, further supporting the safety of the herb.
Goldenseal root is actually a rhizome (a specialized, root like
stem) of the plant hydrastis canadensis. Goldenseal was once abundant in N. America as well as the southern areas of Eastern Canada down to the Carolinas, but in many cases, natural planting areas have been destroyed by over-harvesting. Some Goldenseal still comes from wildcrafted sources, but cultivation now accounts for most of the Goldenseal harvest. Father LaMoyne, a Jesuit priest exploring the "new world", provided a written discussion of Goldenseal in 1650, reporting that it "closed up all manner of wounds rapidly, even if the wounds were full of pus!" Native Americans were reported to have used Goldenseal as both a medicine and a clothing dye. They also used it internally to soothe the mucus membranes of the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems. The Cherokees used Goldenseal as an eye wash. It was an official medicine listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia
(authoritative body that disseminates standards and information for
medicines) from 1860-1926.
Goldenseal provides a wide spectrum of activity against microbes. This is due to the multitude of different alkaloids
present in the plant, including berberine and hydrastine. The more alkaloids a micro-organism is exposed to, the more difficult it is to mutate and become resistant. The formation of resistant strains of bacteria is a major problem due to the overuse of prescription antibiotics, which exposes
microbes to only one chemical at a time. Berberine is the key constituent in Goldenseal, responsible for the herb's bitter taste and golden yellow color. Berberine has shown immunomodulating activity, and increases the blood supply to the spleen. As a result, the spleen releases tuftsin, an immunomodulating chemical shown to activate white blood cells. Berberine stimulates the liver's Kupffer cells (stationary white blood cells), which filters toxins, bacteria and other debris from the blood. Hydrastine may help to lower blood pressure, and helps support digestion. (Since the berberine content in Goldenseal can strongly effect the body, it is
recommended that individuals with cardiovascular problems consult with a
physician before using this herb.)
Echinacea/Goldenseal combination is a classic herbal formula that is used extensively by herbalists to help
support the immune system. This is one remedy that is great to have handy at
all times, so that it can be taken at the FIRST SIGN of a cold or flu, to
help the body fight off the infection responsible for both the severity and
longevity of symptoms. If a cold or flu is already inprogress, Echinacea/Goldenseal soothes sore throats and shrinks swollen glands.
NatureÕs Answer offers Echinacea/Goldenseal in a variety of formulations and delivery formats, due to its popularity with herbal consumers as well as with naturally-oriented health care professionals. These include Echinacea/Goldenseal concentrated liquid extracts (loworganic and alcohol-free) and Echinacea/Goldenseal in vegetarian capsule. For kids, try
E-KID-nacea® and E-KID-nacea Plus® (combines Echinacea with Goldenseal),
unique formulas designed especially for children. All of these formulas are
Kosher and Unconditionally Guaranteed.
References for Educational Purposes:
Amin AH, et al. Berberine Sulfate: Antimicrobial Activity,
Bioassay, and Mode of Action. Can J Micro. 1969;15:1067-76.
Jurcic K, Puhlmann J, et al. Immunologic In Vivo and In Vitro Studies on
Echinacea Extracts. Arzneimittelforschung. Feb1988;38(2):276-81.
TC, Kelly GS. Berberine: Therapeutic potential of an alkaloid in several
medicinal plants. Altern Med Review. 1997;2(2):94-103.
Lau CW, Yao XQ, Chen
ZY, Ko WH, Huang Y. Cardiovascular actions of berberine Cardiovasc Drug Rev.
Parnham MJ. Benefit-Risk Assessment of the Squeezed
Sap of the Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) for Long-Term Oral