Echinacea: The American Healing Plant

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By: Dr. Gerhard Madaus, Georg Thieme Verlag

Echinacea angustifolia L
(narrow-leaved cone flower, purple cone flower, black Sampson)

This durable shrub has layered leaves and long stems that each hold a single flower. The purple or white raying petals are 2-2.5 cm. long and three-toothed. The plant is at home in the prairies and sand banks west of the state of Ohio.

Echinacea has been long known to native American folk medicine as an antiseptic. It is said that one day a homeopathic physician came upon a squaw who was grinding White Echinacea plants between stones. She said that this mash was used to bind wounds for rapid healing, and that it was good for snake bites. The physician obtained Echinacea and experimented successfully with it, and through him Echinacea came into general use in America.

Historical Usage

This remedy was known to probably every doctor in America for infectious and septic fevers. It is still used exten­sively in homeopathy. Conditions for which Echinacea has been used are: ab­scesses, ulcers, insect bites, after tooth extractions and vaccinations, and poorly healing wounds. It has also been pre­scribed for septic fevers with chills and other infectious illnesses, especially in tonsillitis, lymphangitis (with hot Echinacea compresses or internally), and gall bladder infections.

Plant Part used

The root, whole fresh flowering plant (America)

The German Homoeopathic Pharma­copoeia (HAB) lists fresh flowering plant with the root.

The root is dug fresh in the fall and the tincture combined with blossoms har­vested in summer. The dried plant is almost ineffective.


Excerpted from Lehrbuch der Biologischen Heilmittel, (Textbook of Biological Remedies; Dr. Gerhard Madaus, Georg Thieme Verlag, Ger­many 1938.


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