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Echinacea is a popular natural herb that is claimed to help the body resist cold symptoms by boosting the immune system. To understand the true effects of Echinacea, scientists conducted a clinical trial in Sweden on 1,562 participants. The average age for the group was 45 years old. The subjects were given either daily Echinacea extract, or a placebo for 3 months. After 3 months, the test subjects were pricked with a cold virus.The chemicals contained in the root differ considerably from those in the upper part of the plant. For example, the roots have high concentrations of volatile oils (odorous compounds) while the above-ground parts of the plant tend to contain more polysaccharides (substances known to trigger the activity of the immune system). The combination of these active substances is responsible for echinacea's beneficial effects, though research suggests that the above ground portion of Echinacea purpurea is the most effective.Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea. Many echinacea preparations contain one, two, or even all three of these species. Different products use different parts of the echinacea plant, which is why the effectiveness of echinacea may differ from one product to another.
Echinacea /ËŒÉ›kÉªËˆneÉªÊƒiÉ™/ is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family. It has ten species, which are commonly called coneflowers. They are found only in eastern and central North America, where they grow in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas. They have large, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming in summer. The generic name is derived from the Greek word á¼χá¿–νος (ekhinos), meaning "sea urchin", due to the spiny central disk. These flowering plants and their parts have different uses. Some species are cultivated in gardens for their showy flowers. Two of the species, E. tennesseensis and E. laevigata, are listed in the United States as endangered species. Echinacea species are herbaceous, drought-tolerant perennial plants growing up to 140 cm or 4 feet, in height. They grow from taproots, except E. purpurea, which grows from a short caudex with fibrous roots. They have erect stems that in most species are unbranched. Both the basal and cauline (stem) leaves are arranged alternately. The leaves are normally hairy with a rough texture, having uniseriate trichomes (1–4 rings of cells) but sometimes they lack hairs. The basal leaves and the lower stem leaves have petioles, and as the leaves progress up the stem the petioles often decrease in length. The leaf blades in different species may have one, three or five nerves. Some species have linear to lanceolate leaves, and others have elliptic- to ovate-shaped leaves; often the leaves decrease in size as they progress up the stems. Leaf bases gradually increase in width away from the petioles or the bases are rounded to heart shaped. Most species have leaf margins that are entire, but sometimes they are dentate or serrate.
Like all members of the sunflower family, the flowering structure is a composite inflorescence, with rose-colored (rarely yellow or white) florets arranged in a prominent, somewhat cone-shaped head – "cone-shaped" because the petals of the outer ray florets tend to point downward (are reflexed) once the flower head opens, thus forming a cone. Plants are generally long lived, with distinctive flowers. The common name "cone flower" comes from the characteristic center "cone" at the center of the flower head. Fish and Wildlife Service (3 August 2011). "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of Echinacea tennesseensis (Tennessee Purple Coneflower) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants". Federal Register. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 21 September 2021. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)