Echinacea can be used for many more things than just the flu.
With increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics; the growing resistance of the influenza virus to vaccines, and the often ineffective prescription medications for the common cold, it is no wonder that many people are looking to natural alternatives to strengthen their immunity.
The body of evidence in favor of Echinacea to do just that is quite convincing. This amazing plant contains compounds called Cichoic Acid and Echinacoside. The first one has been shown to eliminate (by a process called phagocytosis) bacteria and viruses by immune cells called phagocytes. It also inhibits the ability of the HIV virus entering into and thus infecting immune cells. Echinacoside on the other hand provides antibiotic activity against Staphylococci and Streptococci; both very common bacteria that cause numerous infections.
But perhaps the most interesting quality of Echinacea is that it contains compounds called Alkylamides which bind to CB2 receptors. These are receptors (along with CB1 receptors) are the same receptors that THC and other cannabinoids Medical Marihuana bind to. These receptors are located on immune cells that play important roles in regulating the immune system by having both a stimulatory and an inhibitory effect. On some cells they inhibit inflammation; on other cells they stimulate the immune system by increasing the production of antibodies.
Thus these active compounds inhibit some components of the immune system where it may be overactive (like for example in Rheumatoid arthritis) and stimulate other parts of the immune system where such stimulation is desirable.
It’s like taking a natural medicine with practically no side effects which has two opposite roles in different parts of the body and where both are beneficial to our health. Please show me one synthetic pharmaceutical that can do that. So try Echinacea and not just when you catch a cold to shorten the duration of symptoms but also prophylactically to prevent the cold and other infections and possibly even dreaded cancers.