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Echinacea is one of my favorite plants in the garden and is both decorative and useful.

Family name: Compositae
Genus and Species: Echinacea purpurea,Echinacea angustifolia
Common Name: Purple coneflower
Lifespan: Perennial
Growing Conditions: grows in poor, rocky, slightly acidic soil under full sun, but it also thrives in richer soils. E. purpurea grows well here but E. angustifolia, being a prairie plant, does not like our wet winters, even in well drained raised beds. I planted both species from seed in the raised bed seen below at the same time. E. purpurea grew to 3 feet tall with large flowers in three years and E. angustifolia grew to 3 inches with tiny flowers in the same amount of time. I am experimenting with a cover over the E. angustifolia for the winter to see if that helps.
Propagation: from seed or root cuttings, taken in spring or fall; do not cover seeds.
Parts used: E. angustifolia - roots
E. purpurea - roots, aerial parts,including seeds
Harvest: for roots (E. purpurea and E. angustifolia) 3 to 4 year plants; pull them in autumn after the plant has gone to seed; for the whole plant (E. purpurea) harvest when in flower, and the roots when dormant; harvest the seeds for a separate tincture.


Closeup of E. purpurea "White Swan"

 


E. purpurea (about 2 years old)
in my herb garden


New echinacea bed to be harvested for roots


E. purpurea "White Swan" in my
perennial garden. I don't use this one medicinally.

Medicinal Uses:

Actions: cleanses blood of toxins and growths, antibiotic, antiviral, antiseptic, vulnerary (stimulates healing), and as a stimulant increases, nourishes and/or supports one or more vital systems in the body.
Tinctures: I harvest some of the aerial parts of E. purpurea and tincture some every year. I also tincture echinacea seeds and roots of both species.. I then combined the root, seed and leaf and flower tinctures to make a strong effective echinacea tincture. I have used this tincture alone or in combination with goldenseal or oregon grape root for immune system support as soon as a cold symptoms appear, and in a tincture formula for shingles (along with St. John's Wort, Passionflower, Skullcap, Jamaican Dogwood and Oatseed)
Teas: I dry the aerial parts for tea, and echinacea coats the throat and then internally gets into the bloodstream and is effective for upper respiratory infections.
I also make a spray for sore throats which includes Echinacea purpurea flower and root, Echinacea angustifolia root,. Licorice, Goldenseal, and Wild Cherry.