Echinacea, Echinacea purpurea
DESCRIPTION AND CULTURE: Beautiful and popular perennial native plant is esteemed for beauty, endurance and immune support. Excellent pollinator plant, and displaying beauty for weeks out of every summer, into fall, this is a top herb to grow in any garden. Echinacea purpurea is robust and prefers rich soil. E. pallida, the Pale Purple Coneflower, is native to Wisconsin and can take drier soils. E. angustifolia is the western species and grows in gravely and dry soils. Mine declined here each year with too much moisture in the soil.
PART USED: leaves, flowers and roots
FUNCTION: Echinacea is well known for supporting a healthy immune system. It is most helpful when you feel like you may be getting sick. Echinacea has been proven to increase white blood cell activity, boosting immune response. Echinacea works both internally or externally. I have used it topically on tick bites with great results. Indigenous people called it “snake bite root” and found it effective against venomous snake bites. I collect the leaves and flowers for tea throughout the summer and the root in the fall or spring.