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Echinacea Growing Guide

Echinacea Growing Guide

SHORTCUTS: Ideal Environment, How to Plant, How to Water, Companion Planting, How to Propagate, How to Harvest, Parts Used, Preparations, Uses, Key Constituents, Key Actions, Research.

Information

Echinacea purpurea
FAMILY ASTERACEAE
Echinacea, also known as coneflowers, are herbaceous perennial plants that grow up to 140cm high and grow from a short basal stem with fibrous roots. Echinacea produces beautiful composite flower heads during the summer. Other species used as medicine include E. angustifolia and E. pallida.

Growing Environment

Ideal Environment 

Echinacea will grow best in a sunny spot and even in lightly shaded areas.  Provide average loamy soil with some organic matter, about a neutral pH.

How to Plant

How to Plant 

Plants should be at least 40cm apart.  When growing from seed you will get better germination rates with 4 to 6 weeks of cold stratification. Sow seeds and cover lightly with soil.

Watering

How to Water

Keep the plants moist until they have a few sets of leaves then water once a week when there is no rain.  Echinacea is drought tolerant so do not over water.

Companion Plants

Companion Planting 

Grow Echinacea with other flowers, herbs and vegetables including eggplant, broccoli, brussell sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chillies, peppers and tomatoes.

Here are the Companion Plants by group: Herbs, Flowers, Trees, Vegetables, Berries, Fruit and Mushrooms

How to Propagate

How to Propagate 

Echinacea can be grown by root division, basal cuttings and clumps can be divided, usually in the autumn or spring.

Harvest

How to Harvest

Flowers are gathered in full bloom and roots of 3 to 4 year old plants are harvested in the late summer or early autumn.

Medicinal Plants Parts Used

Parts Used

Fresh and dried root is used primarily, the flowers are used occasionally.

Medicinal Preparations

Preparations

A tincture of the root (dosage is about 1.5ml in water 3 times a day), Decoction of the root (as a gargle for example) and you can make capsules with powdered root.(1)

Plant Uses

Uses

Stimulates the immune system and improves resistance to infections. (3) Other uses include Acne and boils, allergic rhinitis, bites and stings, chilblains, cold sores, coughs and bronchitis, earache, flu, sore throat, tonsillitis, mind asthma, mouth ulcers, urinary and fungal infections.

Constituents

Key Constituents

Glycosides (caffeic acid derivatives: echinacoside, isochlorogenic acid, chlorogenic acid, cichoric acid), polysaccharides (inulin), glycoproteins, aminds (alkamides), volatile oils, polyacetylenes, flavonoids, alkaloids. (3)

Key Actions

Key Actions

General tonic, immune stimulator, lymphatic, antimicobial (antibacterial & antiviral), anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, diaphoretic, anti-catarrhal, detoxifer, bitter. (3)

Research

Research

Echinacea decreased the odds of developing the common cold by 58% and the duration of a cold by 1·4 days on average. Published evidence supports echinacea’s benefit in decreasing the incidence and duration of the common cold. (24)


USEFUL LINKS: About the Growing Guides, The Medicine Garden, Companion Plants, Basic Preparations and Plant Constituents. Disclaimer. References.

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