Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, Echinacea purpurea)
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Echinacea species are perennials that belong to the Asteraceae (aster) family and originated in eastern North America. Traditionally used for a range of infections and cancers, the roots and herb (aboveground parts) of Echinacea species have attracted scientific interest for their reported use in enhancing the immune system.
Natural medicine experts frequently recommend oral extracts of echinacea for the treatment of the common cold and for other conditions requiring immune stimulation. It is occasionally recommended for topical treatment of wounds.
Traditionally, echinacea roots and herbs were used by indigenous Americans for a wide variety of conditions, ranging from snakebites to cancers. Echinacea does not have U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) status.
Echinacea was adopted by central U.S. settlers in the 1800s. However, after the introduction of antibiotics, echinacea use fell out of favor. Echinacea's historical use as a treatment for infections has found renewed interest due to recent rises in antibiotic resistance and the limitations of available antiviral drugs.