Kentucky Wild Weeds: Coneflower

Today's feature on Ky Wild Weeds focuses on Coneflower.

You make recognize the scientific name - Echinacea. There are about a dozen species of echinaceas that are used medicinally. The most common Echinacea purperea occurs in our area. They are also widely used in landscaping.

All parts of the coneflower plant is medicinally active. I often use the flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves to prepare medicine in the summer. Autumn is the time to dig up the roots-the strongest part. The plant should be at least 4 years old before the roots are harvested (and you’ll have a lot of roots).

Echinacea stimulates the bodies natural immunity to help fight off infection. I also give this to my dog when she is sick. Echinacea should only be used when it’s needed. It won’t prevent infection and if you take it every day then it won’t help when you are sick. Some herbalists say it shouldn't be taken for more than five days at a time, but I think it works best when it is taken until the infection is gone.

Dosing is different with this herb than others. I dose every 2 hours when I start to feel sick until I start to feel a little better than I back the dosages down until I’m taking it 3 or 4 times a day. An herbal extract is my preferred method for taking this medicine. I really don’t like capsules full of powdered herbs. To calculate dosages of Echinacea, use 1 drop of extract for every 2 pounds of body weight. This works for kids and pets too.

Thanks Jackie for another interesting installment of Ky Wild Weeds. To see Jackie's herbal products, check out her GloryBeHerbals etsy shop.

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