Manataka® American Indian Council



Proudly Presents


Earth Medicine...

June 2011



Medicine for the People

By Harvey Walks With Hawks Doyle, BSNH


Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)


It is time to plant your first seeds of this wonderful and beautiful medicinal flower. I just planted mine the other day.  You need to get some good potting soil and some type of tray. Put the potting soil about an inch thick on the bottom of the container you are using.  Pour a good source of warm water over the soil until it is saturated thoroughly.  Place a seed about every 2-3 inches on top of the potting soil. Cover the seeds with about ˝ inches of potting soil and set it in a warm place.  Do not set in direct sunlight until the seedlings have the first true leaves showing then place container somewhere and keep away from direct sunlight. Add water again and do not over water.  To give plants more strength place in shade outside for several days (bring in plants at night).  Gradually expose plants to full sunlight.


You can transplant or dig holes deep enough to cover roots and press gently around plants. Another way of planting is you can prepare a flower bed and plant seeds according to instructions on package. These plants can grow 2 ˝ -3 ˝ feet tall and are beautiful and also good for healing.


Native American medicine men/women were the first to recognize that Echinacea can activate the body’s ability to heal itself or diseases.  They applied freshly squeezed juice from this native wildflower (Coneflower) crushed leaves to compresses and also added it to medicinal beverages.  In recent years, numerous scientific studies have confirmed the benefits of Echinacea.  Its immune-boosting components have been shown to increase the number of immune-system cells in the body and also to enhance the activity of these cells.  Commonly known as both purple coneflower and Sampson root, Echinacea has proven to be an excellent preventive against colds, flu and other bacterial, fungal and viral infections.  When applied externally, a tincture made with Echinacea helps to heal wounds.  Because tinctures are so difficult to prepare, readymade ones are generally recommended.


Therapeutic Effects:  Echinacea contains many ingredients that exert an overall stimulating effect on the immune system.  The herb also activates the liver, lymph bodes and mucous membranes, enhancing the body’s overall ability to fight infections.  Other specific substances contained in Echinacea have wound-healing and germicidal properties. Nutrients:  Calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C.  Note:  To guarantee the full effect if making extracts be sure and utilize the flower, leaves and also root.


Side Effects:  There have been no reports of adverse side effects or interactions between Echinacea and other remedies, drugs or medications.  However, people who tend to be allergic to mixed herbal remedies should exercise caution when taking Echinacea. If you are allergic to ragweed or the sunflower family you should exercise caution when taking. So many Echinacea preparations contain alcohol to increase their shelf life; children should be given pure pressed juice, lozenges or chewable tablets.


Latest Research Findings:  Scientists have reported that extreme physical exertion during athletic training can weaken the immune system, increasing susceptibility to infections.  Many sports physicians recommend that marathon runners and others undergoing endurance training take Echinacea for a day or so after extreme physical exertion to strengthen the immune system.


Extra Tip: You can also treat fever blisters with Echinacea as soon as they begin to itch or tingle.  Place a few drops of pressed Echinacea juice on a cotton ball or swab and gently apply it to the affected area.  This easy home remedy can halt the progression of the lesions and even prevent them outright.


This information is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to diagnose, cure or is in any way suggestive as far as medicinal advice.

Always consult your physician or health care provider before using  alternative medicines or herbs.