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Echinacea the healing herb used to treat colds and flu

Echinacea Gardening in Spain

Echinacea has been used as a healing herb for many centuries. It was the main medicinal herb used by Native Americans for more purposes than any other plant. The major use of echinacea nowadays is to treat colds and flu.

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As well as providinga spectacular, colourful display in the garden, Echinacea possesses medicinal properties.

Normally a plant is better known by its common name but, in the case of this daisy-like perennial, its botanic name is very well known thanks to its medicinal value.

Every time you catch a cold some well-meaning person will tell you to “take some echinacea”.
Gardening in Spain
It has has been used as a healing herb for many centuries

echinacea mauveEchinacea has been used as a healing herb for many centuries.

It was the main medicinal herb used by Native Americans for more purposes than any other plant.

The major use of echinacea nowadays is to treat colds and flu. It is also used for urinary tract infections, skin wounds that are not healing well, and skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It works by activating the body’s immune system, increasing the chances of fighting off any disease.

The word “echinacea” comes from the Greek word “echinos” meaning “hedgehog”, referring to the flower’s spiky central cone.
In the garden:

echinacea deep redEchinacea is a genus of flowering plants of the aster family growing mainly in Europe and the United States.

For gardeners, echinacea or purple coneflower is an easygoing, long-flowering perennial blooming from early to late summer.

This pretty plant has in recent years received a makeover from plant breeders.

Now new varieties are available in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours due to hybridisation between E. purpurea and other species including E. Paradoxa. There are now flowers ranging from crimson to white, as well as yellows, golds and pinks.
Echinacea is a genus of flowering plants
Echinacea Hot Papaya

echinacea orangeWhat has not had a makeover is this perennial’s no-fuss, waterwise approach to life.

It is a top plant for our climate. Once established, it relishes hot weather, does not seem worried by pests or diseases and flowers for months.

What more could you want?

Echinacea purpurea also attracts butterflies, bees and other insects to the garden and its flowers are good for cutting.

In the ornamental garden,it teams well with other brightly coloured perennials such as salvia, daylilies, etc. or along with ornamental grasses.

It also works well planted in large drifts in a low-maintenance gravel garden, and is included in some meadow flower mixes. If you are keen to grow echinacea for its medicinal value, you can also plant it in the herb or vegetable garden.

echinacea 7In the wild, it often grows stems more than 1m high, but some cultivars are under 60cm tall.

If properly cared for, they will form attractive colonies and will live for many years. Coneflowers like it sunny and hot.

Though they will tolerate light shade, fewer flowers will be produced and the plants will be weakened.

Light, loamy soils are best, but coneflowers will grow in any well-drained soil. Once established, they are quite drought tolerant.

The Echinacea plant reseeds in the fall. New flowers will grow where seeds have fallen the prior year.
Echinacea purpurea also attracts butterflies
Echinacea purpurea health benifits
Health benefits:

echinacea yellowThe main species of echinacea that are used therapeutically are Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia and E. pallida.

The chemical constituents of medicinal preparations vary with the different species, growing conditions, parts of the plant used and how it is processed.

With so many variables, it is not surprising that studies into its use show mixed results.

Overall though, research suggests that taking echinacea may reduce the duration of colds, especially if you start it as symptoms appear.

Products based on the juice of E. purpurea appear particularly effective, so if you feel a sore throat or sniffle coming on, finely chop a few leaves, then squeeze the pulp through a strainer to yield about half a teaspoon of juice.

Adults can take this dose three times per day, making a fresh batch each time. However, it should not be used for more than 10 days.

echinacea mauve closeEchinacea is also available over the counter as a tincture or in capsules containing a powder of the dried plant or root.

There are no known side effects from internal or external use of Echinacea, so give it a try next time you feel a cold coming on…

Marc Vijverberg
NOTE: In the absence of sufficient data, it is not recommended to take echinacea if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have an autoimmune disease, are taking immuno-suppressive medication or are allergic to other members of the Asteraceae family. It is unsuitable for children under two years of age.

 

Mr Fothergills – Pictorial Packet – Flower – Echinacea Double Decker – 20 Seeds

An unusual variety producing predominantly single, purple-red flowers in the first season followed by many ‘twins’ in the second season, some flowers may even be fully double!

Superb in borders as they attract many beneficial insects into the garden. Height: 90cm/36in Plant Class: Hardy Perennial (HP). Habit: Tall, Bushy, Upright.

Sow thinly, indoors, February-April, 1.5cm (½”) deep, in a tray of compost. Water well and place in a cold frame, unheated greenhouse, or on a warm kitchen windowsill.

Keep moist. Seedlings usually appear in 14-28 days. Transplant individually, when large enough to handle, to 7.5cm (3″) pots. Always hold seedlings by a leaf, never by the stem.

Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions (avoid frosts), before planting out into well-drained soil, May-July, spacing 40cm (16″) apart. Flowers: July-September.

How to Make an Echinacea Tincture.

This video shows you how to make your own Echninacea Tincture.

With Rosemary Gladstar’s expert advice, anyone can make their own herbal remedies for common ailments.

Her Whole-Plant Echinacea Tincture is used to ward off an infection, a cold, or the flu.

Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family.

echinaceaechinaceaRosemary Gladstar is the mother of modern herbalism.

Her wisdom and vision have inspired an entire generation of herbal healers, and her insights into the healing power of plants have helped people everywhere embrace more natural, healthy, and radiant lives.

The bulk of the book is dedicated to specific herbal remedies for everyone in the family – adults, babies, children, and elders.

Good Vision No-Cook Herbal Jam, for example, will help keep aging eyes functional, while Rosemary’s Itch Relief Remedy offers a soothing salve for poison ivy.

Whether a reader wants to soothe baby’s diaper rash, enjoy a better night’s sleep, conquer headaches, cure a case of athlete’s foot, or boost a sagging spirit, Gladstar’s time-tested herbal remedies offer new options for natural healing.

These therapies are enhanced with an A – Z herbal apothecary featuring detailed information about more than 90 herbs, as well as tips for preparing herbal remedies from scratch.

 

Gardening in Spain tips and tricks in the Mediterranean

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Gardening in Spain growing in Spanish gardens.

Spain info covers local towns with local accommodation. Spain info also covers info local days out in Spain on the Mediterranean. Spain info with information on gardening in Spain Mediterranean style. Spain info with information on cooking Mediterranean style.
Spain info also covers Bowls Clubs Golf Go Karting fishing Caves and other sports here in the Mediterranean.
Spain info also lists the Local Hot Water Spas many of them dating back to Roman times.

Spain Info Echinacea, San Francisco De Asis, Urb Marina, San Fulgencio, 03177, Alicante, Spain.
38n21, 0w29.

 

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