Echinacea activity.

Botanical name: 

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Echinacea activity.
From: (Stuart Robert Hall)
Date: 18 Mar 1994 02:25:36 GMT

I saw a little bit of discussion under the topic "Alternative cures?" and I thought I would add what I know and start a new thread to ask my own questions.

First, I have read immunological studies on Echinacea. Most of them indicate that Echinacea acts as an immune system potentiator, the mechanism of which is poorly understood. It is theorized, and somewhat backed up, I think, that it works by increasing the motility of neutrophils. Basic immunology: as a part of the inflammatory response, neutrophil migrate towards the site of inflammation, moving in a kind of amoebic fashion as they infiltrate tissue. Echin. seems to make them move faster. If anyone has read anything more specific, or more definite, please post a followup.

I have a question of my own. From reading the literature, it seems that researchers use either Echinacea angustifolia or Echin. purpurea, and I don't really see much of a pattern other than Echin. angus. seems more common. Has work been done on the differences between these two subspecies? Do we know what substances they share? Also, from an herbalists' standpoint, when is root preferred to leaf?


Stuart Hall

From: (Stephen Bialkowski)

>First, I have read immunological studies on Echinacea.

I don't know about published studies, but I personally know two people who had 'full spectrum' blood tests after taking Echinacea for a while. In both cases, lab results indicated that the white cell count was up over normal and in one case the doctor told the person that they had probably just gotten over a bad infection (which she hadn't had).