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Medicinal Herb: Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea purpurea

Biological Name:
Echinacea parpurea (L.) Moench

Asteracae (Compositae)

Other Names:
American coneflower, Black Sampson, Black Susan, Comb flower, Echinacea, Echinaceawurzel, Hedgehog, Igelkopfwurzel, Indian head, Kansas snakeroot, Narrow-leaved purple coneflower, Purple coneflower, Purpursonnenhutkraut, Racine d’echininacea, Radix Echinacea, Rock-up-hat, Roter sonnenhut, Scurvy root, Snakeroot, Sonnenhutwurzel

Echinacea purpurea


Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench is one of the most important and well-known medicinal plants in the world. E. purpurea is a perennial, medicinal herb with important immunostimulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, especially the alleviation of cold symptoms.

Other biological activities of the Echinacea include: antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and larvicidal activities. [1]

Traditional Indications:

Antiseptic, Digestive, Anti-microbial – used as an effective remedy for boils, acne, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, abscesses and septicaemia [2]. Bacterial and viral infections especially of the upper respiratory tract. Immune stimulant [3]. Also a primary medicine to treat tooth abscess [4].


The immune-stimulating properties of Echinacea have not been attributed to any single compound. Echinacea increases the proliferation of phagocytes in spleen and bone marrow, stimulates monocytes to produce cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, TNF), increases the number of PMN, activates macrophages, and promotes the adherence of PMN to endothelial cells.

Echinacea has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Echinacea was shown to inhibit the influenza virus and the herpes simplex virus (I and II). Topically, Echinacea has anti-inflammatory properties where it inhibits edema. Echinacea may interfere with cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4 (CYP3A4) enzyme [5].

According to Perri, et al., (2006) traditionally E. purpurea was use to treat conditions including wounds, insect bites, infections, toothache, joint pain, and as an antidote for rattlesnake bites.

As with any herbal remedy, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using Echinacea purpurea, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications. They can provide personalised advice and guidance based on your specific situation..

Growing Conditions: Echinacea purpurea is a hardy plant that thrives in full sun or partial shade. It prefers well-drained soil and can tolerate a range of soil types. It is drought-tolerant once established and generally low-maintenance.

Appearance: Echinacea purpurea is a herbaceous perennial plant that grows to a height of about 1 to 3 feet (30 to 90 cm). It has sturdy stems that bear large, showy, daisy-like flowers with purple or pink petals and a spiky, cone-shaped center (hence the name “coneflower”).


  1. Manayi A, Vazirian M, Saeidnia S. Echinacea purpurea: Pharmacology, phytochemistry and analysis methods. Pharmacogn Rev. 2015

  2. Jan-Jun;9(17):63-72. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.156353. PMID: 26009695; PMCID: PMC4441164.


  3. Stuart, M. (1979) The encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism. Orbis Publishing Limited, London.


  4. Stuart, D.L. Wills, R.B.H. and Dickeson, T.M. (2004) Optimisation of Polysaccharides in Processed Processed Echinacea purpurea. Centre for the Advancement of Food Technology and Nutrition, University of Newcastle.


  5. Hall, D. (1988) Dorothy Hall’s Herbal Medicine. Lothian Publishing, Melourne, Australia. 


  6. Perri D, Dugoua JJ, Mills E, Koren G. Safety and efficacy of echinacea (Echinacea angustafolia, e. purpurea and e. pallida) during pregnancy and lactation. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Fall;13(3):e262-7. Epub 2006 Nov 3. PMID: 17085774.

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Page last updated: 26th June 2020

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