Echinacea: How to Use?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Debora M Farrar
Posted on: August 28, 1998

I am growing echinacia all over my perennial flower beds. What should I do to turn them in to an edible herbal supplement. I have Epstein Barr and echinacia is very important to me.

Echinacea roots can be dug up in fall, washed, and then cut into small pieces. A food processor may be useful. The pieces are then steeped in alcohol, such as vodka or gin, for at least two weeks. The liquor should be enough to cover all of the root pieces, and the mixture should be shaken every few days.

After at least two weeks (can be longer), the mixture is strained and the liquid stored in dark bottles.

Alcoholic tincture is the best way to take echinacea because the immune-stimulating activity of the roots is best absorbed through the mucus membranes in the mouth and with a tincture you can swirl it around the mouth to allow absorption. Echinacea that is swallowed, or taken in the form of a tea or capsules, will not be absorbed into the blood.

For more information on echinacea, see Steven Foster’s book "Echinacea, Nature’s Immune Enhancer" or Christopher Hobb’s "Echinacea: The Immune Herb!" (both available from Richters).

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