You’ve probably heard the word ‘echinacea’ floating around amongst vitamins and supplements. It sounds foreign and fancy. But what is it?

Echinacea is native to North America and was used by Native American Indian tribes as a traditional herbal remedy, as explained by WebMD. It is a herb that has many health utilities, used to treat colds and other infections, as well as an immune booster.

As a senior in retirement living, you know how important it is to maintain your health and wellbeing. Read on to find out how echinacea can benefit you.

What is echinacea?

Echinacea was widely used as a medicinal herb during the 18th and 19th century, according to the University of Maryland Medical Centre (UMM). Its popularity in the United States fell after the introduction of antibiotics, and also due to lack of beneficial evidence.

It is being slowly revived as a medicinal product again now that there is an increasing resistance to antibiotics. There are many ways that echinacea supplements can benefit your active lifestyle.

The echinacea herb is perfect to help seniors in retirement keep up their immunity!
The echinacea herb is perfect to help seniors in retirement keep up their immunity.

Uses and benefits

Medicinal supplements are made from certain echinacea species, extracted from the flowers, leaves and roots. It comes in many forms such as tablets, juice or tea. Each part of this herb contains different chemicals which contribute to the wide range of its therapeutic benefits.

Cardiff University conducted a study in 2012 examining the long-term effects of this herb in patients over the course of four months. Their findings revealed that there were many beneficial effects resulting from the use of echinacea, including battling the common cold and strong antiviral effects, as it stimulates the immune system.

The UMM suggests consuming echinacea supplements as early as possible in the course of a cold, and to take several doses for the first few days. The amount you take varies depending on the form of the herb, so make sure you read the instructions first and always ask an expert if unsure of anything.

Echinacea also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with infections. Applied topically, it has been found to help with wounds, abscesses, ulcers and bee stings, among many other uses.

This herb contains antioxidant properties and active substances called phenols that help with cell reception and enzymes in your body. Phenol is a substance that is commonly found in items such as mouthwash and throat lozenges, as well as disinfectant and antiseptic products.

Of course, as echinacea has medicinal properties, it could interfere with other drugs and substances. Make sure that you do your research beforehand and keep up your diet for a happy and healthy life in retirement.