Echinacea

Vitamins, minerals, natural compounds and supplements

Echinacea, the Immune Boosting Herb


Echinacea

Echinacea is a proven herb that helps boost the immune system. In cancer, it also seems to help during radiotherapy and chemotherapy and may even help with brain cancers, or brain tumours.

Although Echinacea was a favourite of Native American Indians for centuries, it lost its position as an immune system booster when antibiotics came along. Originally claims were made for its excellence in aiding relief from anything from colds to cancer.

Over the last twenty years it has been the Germans who have pioneered all the new research work with literally hundreds of studies. This is a very well researched herb!

The German Federal Health Agency has approved echinacea as a supportive treatment for colds and influenza, hard-to-heal skin wounds and urinary tract infections. Almost all the research uses liquid preparations or tinctures. Other research studies have noted an effect in eczema, candidiasis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

However in 1999 a paper by M J Verhoef in Neurology volume 52, reported the successful study of echinacea in neurological disease and in brain tumours, and this led scientists to refocus their attentions to cancer.

An excellent Immune System booster

If you are thinking of buying Echinacea you might like to look at the Natural Selection Product of Choice. You can do this by  clicking here.

A common misconception is that merely stimulating the immune system will be enough to kick out a cancer. Maybe, in a few cases it will. But, by and large, the problem with cancer is two-fold true, the immune system is weak, BUT .......the cancer evades the immune system because of the low immune system response capacity. (In English the bad guys can’t be ’seen’, no matter how many good guys you produce. The issue is to make lots of good guys AND stimulate the bad guys in such a way that they appear on the radar screens).

So, Medical Herbalists recognize the need for two therapeutic requirements as essential when treating cancer an Immuno-modulating effect, and an Adaptogenic effect, and BOTH are required to work synergistically.

Echinacea is a member of the Compositae family. Although there are nine members, only three have been widely studied and used. Most common, the purple cornflower, is a native plant to America and was first officially used there in medical practice in 1887. Both the roots and the leaves have medicinal properties.

It boosts the immune system directly due to a number of active chemicals like polysaccharides, alkylamides, flavenoids, caffeic acid derivatives, polyacetylenes and essential oils. For example, arabinogalactan, is a very powerful immuno-modulating polysaccharide and is effective in activating macrophages, interleukin and interferon with an increase in T-cell activity. It can boost the immune system to attack and kill microbes, cause cancer cell death and more and more studies are showing positive effects with brain tumours.

Several studies have indicated this increase in levels of interferons, whilst highlighting increases in the ingestion of foreign particles by the white cells (phagocytosis).

The University of Munich has shown that it stimulates interleukin and increases levels of white B and lymphocytes, the latter (the cells that can hunt down cancer cells) by 30 per cent.

It can also be used to reduce secondary infection during and after radio- and chemotherapy.

One interesting development was that Echinacea was one of about six natural compounds tested with brain cancer patients, all of which seemed to have a positive effect. The others included soya lecithin, fish oils and turmeric (curcumin)

So is it a cancer cure? No. But it may be helpful in certain areas of your total cancer-fighting programme. 

Dosage

Recommended dosage appears to vary from 900 mgs to 1200 mgs per day divided into three equal doses. No significant side effects have been reported in the German research, although echinacea should not be used for more than eight weeks at a time as it thins the blood.
It is also available in health shops in capsules and teas.

First Hand experience

Echinacea

 If you are thinking of buying Echinacea you might like to look at the Natural Selection Product of Choice. You can do this by  clicking here.

I witnessed personally that Cat’s clawastragalus, turmeric (curcumin) and echinacea  can be an excellent immune system re-booting combination for cancer patients, and especially after treatment with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. We gave this combination to Catherine when the chemotherapy drugs had reduced her white cells to desperately low levels, and the standard immune-stimulating drugs and injections on offer simply would not work even though she tried them daily for weeks. On taking the four herbs her white cell levels recovered in less than two weeks! She was also taking aloe vera  which may have helped further.

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Please be clear: At CANCERactive we do not consider the above compound to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research says or experts doing the research may claim. The above, is an article on the compound from published research and expert opinion in the public domain. At CANCERactive we do not believe that any single compound (drug, vitamin, whatever) is a cure for cancer. We believe that people can significantly increase their personal odds of survival by building an Integrated Programme of treatments. Equally, cancer prevention is best practiced through a width of measures.

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