The properties of echinacea were highlighted by the first scientific research in 1915, when, for the first time, the mechanism of action on the immune system was demonstrated; since then, echinacea has been considered the natural support for our defenses, especially against infectious diseases.
The use of echinacea for immune defenses dates back to the Indians of North America, who used it internally to treat infections, against colds, coughs, colds, and sore throats, and for external use to disinfect and heal wounds and burns.
Subsequently, around 1915, medical science highlighted the mechanism of action of the plant on our immune system. Today it is widely used in the prevention and treatment of colds and wound healing.
The Immune System
The invulnerable framework is a significant guard component for our body, fit for perceiving and obliterating attacking microorganisms, for example, infections, microscopic organisms, and growths. This contraption mostly comprises a complex incorporated organization of substance and cell go-betweens created during development to guard the body against the compound, horrendous, or irresistible harm to its uprightness.
Focal organs (thymus and bone marrow) and fringe organs (lymph hubs, spleen, lymphoid cells of blood and lymph) are important for the invulnerable framework. Contingent upon the techniques for acknowledgment of the antigens, they can be recognized into two regions of the safe framework :
Vague or natural resistance is the prompt cautious reaction against hostility, fit for recognizing irregularities in cell films. It incorporates substance go-betweens (answerable for aggravation) and cell arbiters ( polymorphonuclear cells, macrophages, and regular executioner NK lymphocytes ), which inundate and annihilate growths or infection-tainted cells.
It is developmentally more established and permits acknowledging a restricted collection of antigens. Perceives what is happening and places the resistant framework in an “alert” condition, which leans toward the advancement of explicit insusceptibility.
Explicit or versatile invulnerability incorporates synthetic and cell middle people ( T and B lymphocytes ), liable for an all the more impressive and designated guarded reaction (essentially fit for perceiving any antigen), however more slow. It is developmentally later and depends on the vague reaction for a few antigen show and obliteration capabilities.
The Action Of Echinacea On The Immune System
The great interest in the properties of echinacea derives from its ability to activate the phagocytic action of lymphocytes, strengthen the specific immune system of adults and children, and in particular, is expressed through an increase in leukocytes, in particular polymorphonuclear granulocytes (or neutrophils) and monocytes-macrophages of the reticuloendothelial system.
These cells engulf (eat) harmful foreign agents (bacteria, fungi, etc.). Scientific research has shown that the presence of polysaccharides makes it an immunostimulating plant. Echinacea also contains:
- Echinacoside with antibiotic, cortico simile, and antiviral action.
- Echinacea gives it anti-inflammatory activity.
- Flavonoids (such as luteolin, kaempferol, quercetin, apigenin).
- Caffeic acid derivatives ( echinacoside, chlorogenic acid), chicory acid, echinacoside, polyenes, alkylamides, essential oil.
So echinacea can effectively prevent acute upper respiratory tract infections, thanks to a drastic decrease in all minor symptoms (cold, cough).
Dosage And Contraindications
The immunostimulating effects of echinacea make it contraindicated in patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy (transplants, autoimmune diseases). Adults’ maximum recommended daily dosage is 6-9 ml of fresh juice, 1.5-7.5 ml of echinacea mother tincture, or 2 to 5 g of dry root extract (10).
Therefore, further studies are needed to establish which of the species and which of the different parts of the plant (roots or other parts) is useful to use. Taking echinacea at the first symptoms is an effective measure in 60 -70% of cases. There are no particular contraindications for using echinacea in pregnant women, even if it is always good to consult your doctor.