Echinacea: 6 Health Benefits & How to Use (including Tea Recipe)

Echinacea is a medicinal plant that is rich in alkamides, flavonoids and polysaccharides. It contains anti-inflammatory, antiallergic and immunomodulatory properties, and is therefore widely used as a home remedy in the treatment of cold and flus. 

The scientific name of this plant is Echinacea spp. and the best-known species are Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia. The parts that are normally used are the root or leaf of the plant, which can be used to make tea, compresses or capsules.

Echinacea can be found in herbal stores, health food stores or pharmacies. This plant should be used under the guidance of a doctor or medicinal plant specialist.

Imagem ilustrativa número 2

Health benefits

The benefits of echinacea include:

1. Boosting immunity

Echinacea is rich in alkamides, polysaccharides, glycoproteins and caffeic acid derivatives. These contain anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory action, which help to strengthen the immune system, and prevent or combat respiratory infections, like the flu, colds, sinusitis or otitis.

This medicinal plant can also help fight chronic urinary or pelvic infections, as well as yeast infections or cold sores.

Also recommended: Immune System Boosters: Foods, Natural Remedies & Recipes

2. Fighting inflammation

Echinacea has anti-inflammatory properties that help fight inflammation and swelling. It can be useful to help treating toothaches and gum pain, for example. Learn about other anti-inflammatory teas you can prepare to manage swelling.

3. Healing the skin

Echinacea has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action and can be used on the skin to accelerate the healing of superficial wounds. It can also help fight skin infections, such as abscesses or boils.

Furthermore, this plant can be used for skin conditions such as eczema, burns or insect poisoning.

4. Reducing anxiety

Some studies [1,2] show that echinacea has substances in its composition, such as alkamides, rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid, that contain anxiolytic action. These bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, helping to reduce anxiety.

However, more research is still needed to prove this benefit. Furthermore, it is important to highlight that echinacea does not replace anxiety treatment as prescribed by your doctor. Check-out other natural remedies for anxiety that you can prepare at home.

5. Regulating blood sugar

Some studies [3,4] carried out with cells in a laboratory setting show that echinacea contains substances with hypoglycemic properties. These can inhibit the enzymes that are responsible for digestiong carbohydrates, which can help reduce blood sugar levels.

Additionally, echinacea may help make cells more sensitive to the effects of insulin, which may be beneficial in the management of diabetes.

However, echinacea does not replace diabetes treatment as prescribed by a doctor, and more studies in humans are needed to prove this benefit.

6. Helping to fight cancer

Some studies carried out in the laboratory with pancreatic and intestinal cancer cells show that the chicoric acid present in echinacea can help reduce cell proliferation or increase cell death of these types of cancer.

However, studies in humans are still needed to prove this benefit.

How to take

The parts of echinacea that are typically are the leaves, roots and seeds. These parts contain substances from which medicinal properties are extracted and used to prepare tea, compresses or capsules.

1. Echinacea tea

Echinacea tea is a great option to take in cases of the cold or flu, as it relieves symptoms such as coughing and a runny nose.


  • 1 teaspoon of echinacea root or leaves
  • 1 cup of boiling water


Place 1 teaspoon of echinacea root or leaves in a cup of boiling water. Let it rest for 15 minutes, strain and drink twice a day. 

Also recommended: Natural Cold Remedies: 7 Teas for Cold & Flu Recovery

2. Echinacea compresses

Echinacea can also be used on the skin, by applying a paste made from echinacea roots and leaves.


  • Echinacea leaves and roots
  • Cloth soaked with hot water.


Mash the echinacea leaves and roots, with the help of a pestle, until a paste is formed. Then, apply it to the affected area with a cloth dampened with hot water.

3. Tablets or capsules

Echinacea can also be found in the form of capsules and tablets, at pharmacies or natural health stores, as is the case with Enax or Imunax, for example.

The normally recommended dose is 300 mg to 500 mg, 3 times a day, but you should  consult a doctor or medicinal plant specialist to ensure the correct dose is taken, as this can vary from person to person.

Possible side effects

The most common side effects that may occur while using echinacea are nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, dizziness, confusion, insomnia and/or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Some people may also have allergic reactions may also occur, such as itching and worsening of asthma attacks.

Contraindications for use

Echinacea should not be taken by children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or people with a history of tuberculosis, leukemia, collagen diseases, multiple sclerosis, or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or psoriasis.