Echinacea - Herbal Treatments

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Echinacea - Herbal Treatments

Post by Katy on Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:03 am

Echinacea - Echinacea purpurea moench, Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea pallida


Echinacea is native to North America, and cultivated in other parts of the world. It was first mentioned by early 18th century Virginia botanist John Clayton as "beneficial for saddle sores." The native Americans used echinacea species topically for a variety of ailments and since the 18th century it has gained wide used throughout the world.

I've put this information here as echinacea may be helpful to the poultry keeper for immune support, some topical applications and possibly a support when treating sour crop (untested).

Other names:

Purpose coneflower, black root, Kansas snakeroot, black sampson, sampson root, Indian comb, Indian head, Kansas coneflower, Echinacea herba (pharmaceutical name for the aerial parts), Echinacea radix (pharmaceutical name for the root), sonnenhutkraut, igelkopf (German), solhat (Danish), Missouri snakeroot has been sold as echinacea, but it is a contaminant because it is of a different genus.

Parts Used:

E. angustifolia: The root most commonly used.
E. purpurea: Aerial parts (when used for modern preparations) or 2-3 year old roots (only the roots were used by early American herbalists).
E. angustifolia and E. pallida: have deep tap roots and E. purpurea has a mass of smaller roots that adapt to wetter climates. This may explain why we more often use aerial parts of E. purpurea today.

Roots are dug in the fall or very early spring, shoots and flowers are harvested just at the beginning of flowering.

Selected Constituents:

E. purpurea and E. angustifolia are very similar but not identical. The most important constituents are the alkamides, caffeic acid derivatives or phenylpropanoids, echinacoside, cynarin (not in E. purpurea), polysaccharides, and glycoproteins. Flavonoids such as quercetin and kaempferol are also present, as are volatile oils.

Possible Clinical Actions

Alterative, immunestimulant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, local anesthetic, vulnerary, carminative.


Quality control of echinacea products is a big problem. Low-alcohol preparations concentrate the polysaccharides, which are immune modulating and anti-inflammatory properties. Higher alcohol tinctures contain more of the alkamides, which are probably responsible for immune modulating, anti-inflammatory, prophagocytic, and analgesic properties. For oral use, high-alcohol tinctures are probably best.

Dosage for Small Animals: On the basis of human studies and traditional preparations, hydroethanalic liquid extracts may be preferred.

Dried herb: 25-300mg/kg, divided daily (optimally, TID (3 times daily); can be given at higher doses and more frequently in acute stages of infection.

Infusion and decoctions: 5-30g per cup of water, administered at a rate of 1/4 - 1/2 cup per 10kg, divided daily (3 times a day).

Tincture (usually in 40%-70% ethanol): 0.5-1.5ml per 10kg, divided daily (3 times) and diluted or combined with other herbs (acute infections may require more frequent high doses that exceed this range).

Toxicity Information:

Echinacea is regarded as very safe. Rare allergic hypersensitivity reactions have been reported.


Not to be given to patients with allergy to the daisy family. Possibly contraindicated in patients with autoimmune disease. Most texts recommend the use of echinacea for no longe than 8 weeks, although that guide seems to be unsubstantiated. The German Commission states that echinacea is contraindicated when autoimmune disorders are present and that it should not be used longer than 2 weeks at a time, although trials were it has been taken for 10 - 12 weeks have shown no adverse effects.

Drug Interactions:

Echinacea may alter the metabolism of drugs that are substrates of CYP3A4 enzymes (e.g. clomipramine, corticosteroids, cyclosporine, diltiazem, fentanyl, imipramine, doxorubicin, ketoconazole, ondansetron, tacrolimus, vinblastine, vincristine). It is also possible (not proven) that echinacea may counteract immune suppressant drugs.

Published Research Results:

* Animal models suggest that echinacea extracts may reduce inflammation and edema. (Muller-Jakic, 1994).

* Mouse studies have demonstrated increased phagocytosis by macrophages and neutrophils when given echinacea before challenge with an antigen. (Melchart, 1995).

* In humans and mice pre-treatment with echinacea extracts reduced infective loads of Candida albicans . (Coeugniet, 1986)

* Echinacea tea has been shown effective in reducing the severity and duration of colds in double-blind studies of people (Hoheisel, 1997; Schoneberger, 1992).

* Animal trials suggest that echinacin (fresh, stabilized, expressed juice of E. purpurea arial parts and root) accelerated wound healing. (Meissner, 1987; Kinkel, 1984)

* In a study of growing pigs, echinacea did not increase overall feed efficiency and growth when supplied at up to 3% of the diet. (Holden, 2002)

* Echinacea purpurea powder (determined to contain 1.35% cichoric acid) was administered to 120 weaned pigs to compare performance against a control population. No difference was observe in average daily gain, average daily food intake, or conversion rate. Echinacea had no effect on the rate of level of antibody response detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Investigators concluded that E. purpurea powder did not enhance growth, exhibit antiviral activity or increase antibody resistance to the virus (Hermann, 2003).


Wynn, S.G. & Fougere, B.J. (2007) Veterinary Herbal Medicine. Mosby Elsevier. Sydney

Picture taken from Here

All threads listed in this Index are the opinions of caring forum users. Poultry Matters takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained within, and if in doubt, always refer your poultry queries and problems to your vet.

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Join date : 2011-09-30
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