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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



Excess causes throat irritation. High doses can sometimes cause nausea and dizziness (has been combined with 2 or 3 dates to offset these symptoms). High probability of allergic reaction to those who already have allergies to other members of the compositae family. Large doses can render males infertile while taking.

CONTRAINDICATED Not taken with the presence of systemic progressive diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Tuberculosis, Leucosis, Collangenosis, AIDS, HIV, or Lupus. Can counteract immune-suppressive drugs

a.k.a Black Sampson, Coneflower, Missouri Coneflower, Purple Coneflower
(E.purpurea syn Brauneria purpurea syn Rudbeckia purpurea)

FYIAlthough several echinaceas have been used historically for medicinal purposes, E. purpurea is the species of choice.

A stately plant to 3 feet with a width of 2½ feet and an attractive purplish-pink flower. Native to North America, particularly in the plains states. Twelve to 20 petals are arranged around a central cone of orangish-hued color which itself is made up of tubular florets. The LEAVES are narrow, pointed, and very hairy, being 3 to 6 inches long, the lower leaves on petioles, the upper sessile. The FRUITS are brown, papery seeds which develop on the cone. The ROOT is long and spindly, having a dark outer skin and a white, fleshy interior; the root tapers cylindrically and is furrowed longitudinally; it possesses a sweetish taste and the fresh root causes the tongue to tingle and go numb for a short period.

The scientific name is derived from the Greek 'echinos' meaning hedgehog and relates to the appearance of the prickly looking seedhead. Was listed in the NF 1916-1950. Commercial sources were once almost exclusively the root of Parthenium integrifolium, some due to ignorance, some to outright fraud §

CONTAINS: Essential oil, resin, bitter compounds, mucilaginous compounds: polyacetylenes, echinacein, betaine, echinacoside, flavonoids, polysaccharrides, echinacin, gum, inulin, caffeic acid glycosides; water when fresh 75%, when dried 5%; starch 12%
ESSENTIAL OIL CONTAINS: Humulene, caryophylene, sesquiterpenes, polyacetylenes, isobutylakamines, glycoside, polysaccharide, betain, inulin.
ZERO MOISTURE BASE per 100 grams: 78.6 mg aluminum, 8% ash, 329 mg calcium, 0.19 mg chromium, 1.48 mg cobalt, 7.0 mg iron, 186 mg magnesium, 1.01 mg manganese, 6.8 mg niacin, 79 mg phosphorus, 809 mg potassium, 1.2 mg riboflavin, 0.21 mg selenium, 3.09 mg silicon, 9.0 mg sodium, 0.26 thiamine, 1.7 mg tin, 371 IU vitamin A, 87.3 mg vitamin C, 0.51 mg zinc

PROPAGATION By SEED (stratify minimum of 60 days) in spring; by DIVISION when dormant and at least 2 years old. Known to cross with other echinacea varieties. To collect seeds, wait until late enough in the fall, or into early winter, that they can easily be brushed from the cone head with your thumb.
NEEDS Grown as an ornamental in rich, well-draining soil in sun (or in light shade in more southern climates). Perennial to zone 3. Should be spaced 1.5 to 2 feet apart. Will tolerate some dryness.
FLOWERS July - August
HARVEST ROOTS/RHIZOMES after a couple of hard frosts and plant is dying back. Requires 3 to 4 years for roots to develop sufficient size for harvest. If desired, after the root has been harvested, the crown may be replanted.
FORM Tincture (made with fresh root); Dried, cut root
RELATED SPECIES E. simulata and E. paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower)
VARIETIES E.p. 'Robert Bloom', E.p. 'White Swan', E.p. 'alba' (has a green cone)
♦ Once considered a cure-all by Native Americans and early settlers to North America.
Bitter, aromatic (slightly), alterative, stimulant (immune system), anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, febrifuge, vasodilator, sialagogue, analgesic, paraciticide, antiseptic, blood purifier, depurative, vulnerary ; promotes healing; affects immune, blood, lymph, respiratory, and digestive systems; inhibits hyaluronidase activity; reduces eosinophil levels; has a high iron content accompanied by copper and cobalt making the iron more readily available to the system
Has been used to restore normal immune function during and after chemo. Clinical studies with the extract show improved white blood cell count.
The presence of inulin lowers bowel transit time, absorbs toxins in the bowel, and regulates colonic bacteria. Has been used to increase resistance to digestive and respiratory pathogens. Has been combined with vermifuges for inernal parasites and has been used as a bowel and colon detoxifier.
Has been used internally for acne, colds, flu, coughs, sore throat (as a gargle), laryngitis, tonisillitis, sinus infection, ear infections, skin disesases, cancer, rheumatism, bladder infections (one tbsp decoction taken 3 to 6 times daily), recurring kidney infections, dizziness, bursitis, tendonitis, viral infections, yeast infections, sties, dry mouth, herpes virus, HIV, Lyme disease, pneumonia, sties, fevers, erysipelas, blood poisoning, measles, roseola, chickenpox, ovarian cysts and inflammation, fungal infections, gangrene, boils, abscesses, slow-healing wounds, prostratitis, cystitis (sometimes combined with Yarrow and Bearberry), uremia, ulcers, typhoid fever, glandular inflammations, crebro-spinal meningitis, diphtheria, tetanus, venereal disease and diseases following childbirth.
Has been used externally as either a wash of the decoction or a diluted tincture for pus formation, sores, infections, infected wounds, gangrene, vaginal discharge (douche), hemorrhoids, impetigo, herpes, acne, psoriasis, pyorrhea (mouth wash), gingivitis (mouth wash), sore throat (as a gargle), and tonisilitis (gargle). The powder has been used as a dust for infected skin conditions such as boils, weeping/infected eczema, and psoriasis.
Has been combined with equal parts of tinctures of Myrrh, Rhatany (Krameria triandra), or Oak Bark, for gum disease; the mixture is applied 3 times daily to the gums with a fine brush.
Tincture has been used internally and externally for the treatment of mastitis and cracked nipples.
Has been combined with St Johnswort for herpes (Lemon Balm would be a better choice) and with Burdock for boils.
Has been combined with False Indigo or Myrrh for throat infections (gargle).
Has been combined with Elecampane for tuberculosis.
Has been used both internally and externally for burns.
Has been used to offset the effects of vaccinations.
Has been combined with Myrrh and used externally for typhoid fever.
Has been used for poison oak/ivy.
Tincture has been used in 10 ml doses to treat food poisoning and snakebite.
Was used by Native Americans to treat poisonous snakebites and poisonous insect stings/bites. The juice of the plant was employed in several ways: as a wash for burns, sprinkled on hot coals during 'sweats' employed for purification, applied to hands, feet and mouth to protect against injury from walking on, handling, or placing hot coals in the the mouth. Native Americans of the Plains states sucked on the root to treat sore throat, toothache, infection, wounds, snakebite, skin problems, mumps, measles, smallpox, and cancer; they used it in smoke treament for heaadache and placed a bit of the pulped root in tooh cavities. The Kiowa chewed on the root and swallowed the juice for respiratory problems.

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
Smaller doses (1 cup tea or 30 drops of extract taken several times daily) are said to work better than a larger single dose. Best used periodically: a few weeks on a a few weeks off. If rootstock has lost its odor, do not use.
GRAINS = 15 to 30
FRESH ROOT = 1 to 2 tbsp
DRIED ROOT = 3 grams (3/4 tsp)
JUICE = 6 to 9 ml (1½ to 2 tsp)
DECOCTION = 1 tsp rootstock with 1 C. water; bring slowly to boil; simmer till liquid is reduced by half; stir and allow to cool. Taken 10 ml (1½ tsp) every 1 to 2 hoursz for acute stages of infection; otherwise, taken 1 tbsp 3 to 6 times a day
TINCTURE = (Tincture is also made from the fresh flower heads of E. purpurea and sometimes in combination with the root of E. angustifolia). 1/2 to 1 tsp (2 to 5 ml or 10 to 30 drops) taken in water every 2 to 3 hours for the first 2 days for flu, chills, urinary tract infection GARGLE = 10 ml tincture in a glass of warm water
EXTRACT = 1/2 oz. root with 4 oz. of 100 proof Vodka put through blender; let sit 2 weeks shaking daily; strain and bottle.
ALSO SEE: How To Make Extracts. SUPPOSITORY = Powdered root is mixed with vegetable glycerin until the consistency of cookie dough, then mixed with flour until the texture of bread dough and shaped into suppositories and frozen. One suppository is used each evening before bed, inserting up against the cervix. In the morning, a douche is performed to clean out the material. The douche can include calendula and usnea tinctures. In cases of abnormal pap smears, this is done for 14 days.

Was used by Native Americans in smoke treatment for distemper in horses.
Remove petals and air dry the 'cone' for craft arrangements.
Was used in ritual by Native Americans to give more courage, stamina, and tolerance to pain.

a.k.a. Black Sampson, Coneflower
Also see: Pale Purple Coneflower

Root has same uses as Echinacea purpurea. Same cultivation.

a.k.a. Pale Purple Coneflower

Root used like E. purpurea but may not be as potent. Same cultivation.

©2001 & 2007 by Ernestina Parziale, CH