Along with Spring comes the fluctuation in temperature, the mix between good and bad weather and the constant need for tissues at-hand. With the pandemic lingering and more emphasis placed on good health now than ever before, some wonder if there is more that they should do to take care of their physical health.
Most have heard of herbal remedies with some in doubt over whether they actually work. And while scientists may not have an exact answer for you, there is one natural remedy that does come in handy from time-to-time.
Echinacea is a coneflower that comes in a variation of species. The flower itself can be picked apart – that is it’s stem, petals and roots – to be made into supplements, tablets, liquids or teas.
What are its health benefits?
Although studies’ results vary, echinacea is known to boost immunity through increasing white blood cell count. One study shows that by taking echinacea, development of the common cold was reduced by 50 percent and its duration was shortened to one and a half days.
Reduces blood sugar levels
A certain species of echinacea known as Echinacea Purpurea was used in a test tube study to see how echinacea could lower blood sugar levels. The study reveals that the extract suppressed the enzymes that digest carbohydrates, therefore lowering the amount of sugar that enters the blood.
There are times where inflammation – your body’s line of defence and healing – can be excessive or prolonged. Several studies suggest that echinacea can reduce excess inflammation, with one particular study looking at how chronic pain and swelling was reduced in osteoarthritis sufferers.
Are there side effects that come with taking echinacea?
While echinacea is relatively safe, some side effects that may be experienced include:
- Itchy skin
- Stomach pain
These side effects are typically experienced by those with allergies to other flowers. If you have an autoimmune disorder or are taking immunosuppressants, you should avoid consuming echinacea.
How should I take echinacea?
While there are no official dosage recommendations, it’s suggested that echinacea products are only used short-term as its long-term effects are unknown. It’s important to follow the directions listed on the label of the echinacea product and only after consulting with your doctor or a health professional first.
While echinacea is known for its immune-boosting response, more human research is required to know all of its effects and benefits. Despite this, echinacea is unique in its properties and may be worth trying if your doctor recommends it.
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