I’ve heard about echinacea for immune support and also for anxiety. Is this the same echinacea?
Q. Dear Terry, “I’m a little confused. I’ve heard about echinacea for immune support and also for anxiety. Is this the same echinacea? Or how do I tell the difference?” — Rita S., Caldwell, ID
A. Dear Rita, Echinacea is a very powerful botanical for the immune system and also anxiety. However, echinacea refers to a family of related flowers and each variety has slightly different medicinal compounds. Echinacea that is used for immune support is generally derived from Echinacea purpurea, while the species used for anxiety is Echinacea angustifolia.
Many people are familiar with echinacea for immune support and numerous studies have found that this herbal extract reduces the length and severity of colds. Compounds in echinacea stimulate the immune system. This makes echinacea especially useful when taken at the very beginning of a cold or flu, when the body needs to fortify its strength against the virus. For additional benefits, I would try adding andrographis and pelargonium, which work synergistically with echinacea.
When choosing these ingredients, look for echinacea that is derived from fresh pressed aerial juice, andrographis that is standardized to andrographolides, and pelargonium that is standardized to umckalin and polyphenols. These ingredients are safe to take daily and are especially useful during cold and flu season.
If you are using echinacea for anxiety, there are compounds in the E. angustifolia plant called echinacosides, which can trigger feelings of calm and relaxation. Dosage is extremely important because many people are familiar with taking large doses of Echinacea for immune support. However, this type of echinacea requires a much smaller dose. If you are struggling with anxiety, I would take this echinacea twice daily for the first week and once daily thereafter.
Terry . . . Naturally