Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea purpurea is a perennial herbaceous plant that is native to North America. It has large flowers with the shape of a daisy, purple in color or, more rarely, white in color. This plant forms large cushions with elongated glossy leaves from which large and showy flowers start. These are supported by rather long stems, with numerous purple petals and a dark central button with the shape of a dome, almost black in color. The echinacea purpurea plant has its flowering period in summer. Its leaves, its flowers and even its roots are often used in herbal medicine thanks to the considerable amount of essential oils that are contained in them. Echinacea purpurea plantsthey love rather sunny positions and do not adapt, if not rarely, to half shade. If they are planted in shady areas they live well but do not produce the beautiful flowers. They are not afraid of cold temperatures, even in harsh winters.

The cultivation of echinacea purpurea

The echinacea purpurea plants need to have rather abundant watering: its soil must always be kept very humid and therefore the plant must be watered every week or even more. If, on the other hand, the plant finds itself in a drought situation, this can quickly cause the withering of its leaves and can also compromise flowering. It is advisable to add fertilizer for flowering plants to the waterings, approximately every 15 or 20 days. As for the soil in which the echinacea purpurea is to be planted, there are no particular problems: any soil can be used, as long as it is well drained: water stagnation can be very harmful for the plant and especially for its roots. The multiplication of echinacea purpurea occurs in spring by seed: its new plants, however, bloom after at least a year, so you have to wait. During the autumn the plant that was sown in the spring is planted.

The properties of echinacea purpurea

Echinacea is a large family that includes several species. Echinacea is a herbaceous plant that has a core that resembles a hedgehog and has long petals like those of the daisy. It is valued and known as a beautiful ornamental plant, but is especially famous for its exceptional therapeutic properties. Echinacea purpurea was used by native Indians since 1700 to treat snake bites and poisonous insects. Later it was discovered that its use is capable of promoting the body’s natural defenses that make it stronger against attacks by agents of different nature.Echinacea is particularly known for its anti-inflammatory properties but it is known that it is good also to the skin and hair. But the benefits certainly do not end there: there are numerous species of the echinacea plant, but only some species have medicinal properties. Echinacea purpurea, pallida and angustifolia. These three particular species have roots that contain the identical active ingredients that are concentrated in the purple species which is, in fact, the most used.

Active principles

Echinacea is known to have the ability to stimulate our immune system by virtue of the active ingredients of its root. According to some mechanisms that are still unknown, alkamides and echinacoside are able to activate our immune system by increasing the number of cells that are responsible for the elimination of viruses and bacteria. Echinacin B and echinacoside have an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibiotic action and are able to reduce edema. Arabinogalactan protects against tumors as it stimulates the production of TNFalpha, a particular substance that is capable of inducing the death of cancer cells. Alkamides also called alkylamides, such as isobutylamide, are capable of killing both fungi and parasites such as Candida Albicans. Both polyacetylenes and glycoproteins have an antibacterial action: they inhibit the proliferation of germs that cause infections in the genital and urinary tract such as E. coli and pseudomonas aeruginosa. Echinacea is also used to prevent and treat sore throats, coughs, colds and flu fever.

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