Echinacea is the name of a group of flowering plants in the daisy family. These beautiful pink and purple flowers are native to North America and can be found growing wild in open fields, wooded areas, and along roadways. Echinacea has been a revered herb for hundreds of years. It was used extensively by tribes indigenous to North America, and later by eclectic physicians throughout the 1800’s and early 1900’s. By 1921, Echinacea usage was the most popular treatment being prescribed by eclectic physicians in America for a wide range of conditions, and it remains one of the most popular immune herbs today.* On the Gaia Farm, we grow two species of Echinacea to use in our immune support formulas: Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea.* Both varieties of this flowering plant and its gorgeous coneflowers are always buzzing with the many different pollinators that call our farm home. Studies have shown that various parts of each distinct Echinacea species can benefit the immune system in different ways, which is why we grow both.*
Our Research & Findings on Echinacea
We were awarded a grant by the National Institutes of Health to study the various constituents of Echinacea - where they are found in the plant and their different actions. Over the course of this five-year study, our research team conducted extensive research on both Echinacea species that we grow on our farm and made some significant discoveries on two of the most important active constituents found in the plant: polysachharides and alkylamides.
Immune Support at Onset*
It was discovered through this research that alkylamides support a healthy immune response at onset.* This may explain why preparations made from Echinacea root, where alkylamides are concentrated, are believed to be supportive to people at the beginning of an immune challenge.* Echinacea taken in this form is typically done in higher dosages and with greater frequency over a short period of time. These alkylamide-rich preparations are featured in Quick Defense, our best-selling formula that combines our two Gaia-grown® Echinacea species with Elderberry and Ginger. It is also used in our Turmeric Supreme® Immune Support, which combines Turmeric with other traditional herbs for supporting overall well-being, and in our great-tasting GaiaKids® KidsDefense®.* Our entire GaiaKids line of products was formulated by Dr. Mary Bove, a naturopathic physician with more than 40 years of herbalism experience and a current member of our Scientific Advisory Board. Made with Echinacea, Marshmallow, Black Elderberry, Ginger, and Irish Moss, KidsDefense provides support for your little ones when they need it most.*
Ongoing Immune Health Support*
Our research findings also showed that preparations made from the aerial portion of Echinacea (stems, leaves, and flowers), where polysaccharides are highest, support a healthy immune system on an ongoing basis, making them more appropriate for maintaining natural defenses throughout the year.* Echinacea taken in this form is typically in a lower dose that is designed for continuous use. These polysaccharide-rich preparations are featured in Whole Body Defense, a synergistic blend of Echinacea, Astragalus, and Maitake to help to support overall long-term well-being.* This preparation is also used in Echinacea Supreme, Echinacea Goldenseal Supreme, and our GaiaKids® Echinacea Supreme. All three of these formulas combine both Echinacea species to help support your natural immune defenses.*
Keep Your Immune System Strong, Naturally
Immune health is important all year long, and especially during heightened immune seasons. With the flowering plant Echinacea, you can get the natural, plant-based immune support that you need to help you and your family stay feeling well during all seasons.* As highlighted in this article, the key to getting the most out of Echinacea is simply knowing which preparation to use and for which purposes.