How to Boost Your Immune System with Echinacea

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You know how to make your own Echinacea tincture (it's really is so easy), but what about WHEN to take it?

As we head into the fall and winter months, many of us will find ourselves fighting one illness or another.

Nobody likes a cold and we all want to do what we can to prevent getting sick in the first place or speed up the healing process if we do happen to come down with something.

That’s where Echinacea comes in.

Echinacea has been clinically proven to reduce the duration of the common cold and to lessen the intensity of symptoms.

Isn’t it wonderful that a humble plant can do so much? This is why I love herbs!

When to Take Echinacea
It is best to take Echinacea at the sign of infection. If taken at this early stage it can prevent the infection from growing into a full blown illness. Continuing to take Echinacea through a cold will reduce the severity of symptoms and speed recovery.

Echinacea is useful for most viral and respiratory infections such as colds, influenza, fevers, sore throats, and coughs.

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How to Take Echinacea
Echinacea may be taken in tincture form, as a tea, or in a capsule (in powdered form).

I prefer to take Echinacea as a tincture. There are many excellent brands such as: Herb Pharm, Tri-Light, and Gaia. Echinacea tincture is available in an alcohol or glycerin base. Both are effective. Be sure to chose a glycerin-based product for children. (Michele’s note: We use the Oregon’s Wild Harvest Echinacea raspberry glycerite tincture for our family.)

Making your own tincture is very simple, although it does require some forethought since it needs to sit for a few weeks.

Echinacea should to be administered in small, but frequent doses.

If taking as a tea, 2 to 5 cups a day will be needed.

If taking as a capsule or tincture, follow the suggested dosage on the product packaging. If making your own, the general rule is to take ½ to ¾ of a teaspoon 3 to 4 times a day.

It is important to take a break from using Echinacea in order to sustain its effectiveness. Mary Gladstar recommends taking for 5 days and then having 2 days off. It has also been suggested by other noted herbalists that one could take for a number of weeks and then take a few weeks off.

I personally would take it for the duration of a cold and then stop. Echinacea is not the kind of herb that should be taken continuously. It is best used at the first sign of a cold and for the duration of a cold; such as feeling achy, excessively tired, congested, or generally a “little off.”

Who should Not take Echinacea
Echinacea is not suitable for those with tuberculosis, or HIV infection or other auto-immune disorders such as lupus and multiple-sclerosis.

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