If you suffer from frequent colds, studies have found that this herb can reduce the duration of your symptoms by as much as 50 percent. Echinacea’s active ingredients enhance the body’s immune system by increasing production of certain white blood cells that fight off viruses and bacteria.
Three species of Echinacea are found in products—Echinacea pupurea, Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea pallida—and all have medicinal benefits. Buy a product that’s standardized to contain 4 percent echinacosides (Echinacea angustifolia) and 0.7 percent flavonoids (Echinacea pupurea), two of the herb’s active ingredients. unless you’re allergic to plants in the Asteracease/Compositae family (ragweed, daisy, marigold and chrysanthemum), take Echinacea at the first sign of cold or flu symptoms. Take 900 milligrams of Echinacea, three to four times daily. Limit daily use to eight consecutive weeks due to concern that long-term use of Echinacea might depress the immune system.