Echinacea Uses and Dosage
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Warren
Posted on: October 21, 2004

What is the proper use and dosage for this herb?

Echinacea’s actions in supporting the immune system improve the body’s defence activity against bacteria and viruses.

For infections of the mouth and throat, it can be used as a mouthwash and gargle. For infections of the skin, it can be used externally as a cleansing wash, and internally to fight microbes causing the infection. It can also be used as a preventative, to help resist infection in cases where infections cause flare ups in conditions like asthma.

The most effective preparation is an alcoholic tincture, made with one part of the herb root in 5 parts of 45% alcohol. The dose is 2 to 5 ml. (one half to one teaspoon), three times daily.

In larger doses, echinacea is used to fight off an infection that is just beginning. For example, when one feels a cold or ‘flu coming on, one can take one teaspoon of the tincture hourly for 8 hours, and then revert to the normal dosage for the next few days, while helping your immune system with a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Unless a herbalist has recommended taking echinacea daily for prevention of infection in cases such as asthma, this herb should not be taken as a regular daily supplement.

Echinacea should not be taken with goldenseal for prevention of colds, because goldenseal is not a systemic antibiotic: it works as an antibiotic only on the parts of the body with which it comes in contact: e.g. the mouth and the lining of the stomach and intestines. Goldenseal is drying to the digestive system organs. High doses and long term use can cause dry, cracked and bleeding mucous membranes.

For more information on echinacea you can consult Steven Foster’s book "Echinacea, Nature’s Immune Enhancer" (available from Richters).

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