PAYDAY EXCLUSIVE | 20% OFF €35

Code:PAYDAY
 

PAYDAY EXCLUSIVE | 20% OFF €35

Code:PAYDAY

🏷️ Buy 1 Get 1 Free☀️ Summer ShopOffersOffers HubBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceSave up to 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 Free25% off Online Only OfferOutletFree gift with purchase2 for €61 Mix & MatchShort DatedVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and AquaceuticalsDigestive EnzymesSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionCholesterolAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianRescue RemedyAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleGinseng & GuaranaHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesVegan Vitamins & SupplementsBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 priceHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarNew NordicBetterYouBioglanNatures AidGrass & Co.PE NutritionH&B ExpertDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyJams & ChutneysNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstituteMushroom DrinksTeaSuperfood TeaMatcha & Green TeaSleep & Relaxation TeaDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsDried FruitNutsSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMoringa PowderSpirulinaGoji BerriesBaobabChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsCrisps & ChipsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardCondiments & SaucesApple Cider VinegarSuperfoodsBreakfast CerealsHoney, Jams & SpreadsTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinksShop all DrinksKombuchaNatural Energy DrinksJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete FoodBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceSave up to 1/2 price25% off Online Only OfferHolland & BarrettNaturyaPukkaHeath & HeatherGrenadeMeridianTwiningsOptimum NutritionNakdHuelGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeMustard FreeCelery FreeFish FreeCrustaceans FreeKiwi FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinProtein VeganMeal ReplacementsWhey ProteinMass GainersDiet ProteinCaseinSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy DrinksAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsBCAAL-LysineGlutamineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossKetoSave up to 1/2 priceBuy One Get One 1/2 Price2 for €61 Mix & MatchPE NutritionOptimum NutritionUSNGrenadeApplied NutritionPhDSiSFoodspringHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareCBD BeautyHair Skin & NailsShop all Hair Skin & NailsNail ConditionsSkin ConditionsCollagenWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesMakeupElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessSave up to 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandMiaromaQ+AEthiqueTrilogyChilds FarmAlcohol FreeParfum FreeParaben FreeSLS FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllSlimming TabletsFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesWeight Management ShotsDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceSave up to 1/2 price2 for €61 Mix & MatchGrenadeOptimum NutritionHolland & BarrettPulsinPhDEat WaterUSNNatures AidSlimExpertNew NordicSugar FreeDairy FreeGluten FreeWheat FreeNew inHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthShop all Gut HealthGut Health FoodGut Health SkincareHair Skin & NailsShop all Hair Skin & NailsNail ConditionsSkin ConditionsCollagenStress AnxietyShop all Stress AnxietyEnergy SupportSleep & RelaxationShop all Sleep & RelaxationRelaxationFood & DietShop all Food & DietKeto FoodMenopauseBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 priceHolland & BarrettDr OrganicVitabioticsNaturtintWeledaSolgarNew NordicHeath & HeatherOptimum NutritionEthiqueDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeAlcohol FreeParfum FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeEgg FreePeanut FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenopauseSkincareJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriod & Cycle HealthMenopauseImmunityGut HealthFood & DietJoints, Bones & MusclesSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast

The benefits of echinacea

echinacea flowers

The echinacea plant, also known as American coneflower, or purple coneflower, is a wild flowering herb known for its medicinal properties based on traditional use.1 

Echinacea is native to North America and is recognisable by its daisy-like flowers, usually purple, around a spiny, cone-like centre. It can also grow well if planted in sunny spots in UK gardens.

Originally used by the indigenous Native Americans, echinacea has been used as a traditional herbal remedy since the 18th century for a range of conditions from coughs and colds, snake bites, burns, anthrax infections and minor wounds.2

 The echinacea root was also reportedly chewed to ease the pain from toothaches and throat infections.3

 These days, echinacea is used across the world to relieve the symptoms of the common cold (based on traditional use only).

Applied directly onto the skin, certain preparations are also thought to help with healing small skin wounds.4 

The three types of echinacea used in herbal medicines are:5

  • Echinacea purpurea
  • Echinacea pallida
  • Echinacea angustifolia

The most widely used and popular species of echinacea is echinacea purpurea.

Echinacea benefits

What does echinacea do in the body?

Today, echinacea is classified as a traditional herbal remedy by the British Herbal Medical Association (BHMA) for the relief of symptoms of the common cold as well as influenza type infections.

The immune-boosting properties of echinacea are down to the natural plant compounds polysaccharides and alkamides.6

Usages are based on traditional use only, which means that the effectiveness is not guaranteed as it’s based on anecdotal evidence over many years, rather than solid scientific research.

However, echinacea, particularly echinacea purpurea, has been the subject of research studies over the years, with promising results.

Here are the two main uses for echinacea and the evidence available to back them up.

  1. Common colds and flu-like illnesses

Echinacea is best known for its supposed ability to relieve colds and flu-like infections and for helping to shorten the duration of such illnesses.

A 2007 review of the available studies published in the medical journal The Lancet found that echinacea can decrease the frequency and length of the common cold.7

 A 2013 review found no statistically significant reduction in the number of colds but did find that taking echinacea had a preventative effect.

The fact that there was no statistically significant reduction in the number of colds over several studies could be due to the fact that different strengths and preparations were used across the studies.8

 Echinacea has also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect inside the body.9

  1. Treatment of minor skin issues

Echinacea is thought to be potentially effective in protecting the skin from irritation and oxidative stress.

One study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science in 2010 found that the echinacea purpurea cream and gel were effective in improving skin hydration and reducing wrinkles.10 

Echinacea in the form of a cream or gel has also been used topically for soothing minor cuts, grazes and bruises.11 

One study found it helped reduce levels of bacteria-induced inflammation, a cause of acne.12

How to take echinacea: Dosage

Echinacea is available as echinacea tablets, echinacea drops, echinacea tea, echinacea liquid or as a cream or ointment.

For tablets, the usual dose is one 140mg tablet of echinacea purpurea root extract twice daily.

However, the dosage varies depending on which plant species and part of the plant has been used – make sure you read the label carefully.

Experts think echinacea is most effective when taken at the first signs of a cold, but it may also have an impact when your cold is in full swing.13

Some people take echinacea throughout the UK cold and flu season from November to March as a preventative measure.

The following groups should not take echinacea:

  • Children under 12 years old – there is a risk of serious side effects14
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women – scientists are not sure this is safe15,16
  • People with diabetes or an immune system disorder, for example auto-immune disease – they should avoid a herb that could further stimulate the immune system17

Echinacea side-effects

If you’re interested in taking echinacea, talk to your GP. There are no current known interactions with other medications, but side-effects have been reported.

Serious side effects to echinacea are rare, but some more common ones include stomach upsets, nausea and dizziness.18

Echinacea is considered safe to take although some of the liquids may contain alcohol – if you are dependent on alcohol, or liver disease or epilepsy, look out for the herb in a different form.

For children under 12, the side effects of taking echinacea are more serious. These include:19

  • allergic reactions, like skin swelling and hives
  • facial swelling
  • shrinking of the airways
  • in extreme cases, asthma and anaphylactic shock
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 17 September 2021

Related Articles

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • AmericanExpress
  • PayPal
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Limited, 2024. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.ie is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Limited. Registered office: 45 Henry Street, Dublin, Dublin 1, D01 E9X8. Registered in Ireland: Company no. 79819. Registered VAT no. 4682002U.