Echinacea and the Immune System

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What does echinacea do for the immune system?

Echinacea and the Immune System

In the TV series "Roswell" that your kids may have watched as teenagers, the heroine, Liz Parker, takes echinacea, which her father mistakes for illegal drugs. Just say no. Dads aren't always in tune with your life, and your dad has the worst immune system of anyone you know. He'd sooner try medical marijuana than he would echinacea, noting that years ago UC Berkeley (Berserkely) was skeptical of the herbal supplement. You're a little foggy on what echinacea does as well--although you know it's not like cannabis, which can make you foggy. Echinacea commonly comes from the purple coneflower in the US and became a popular cold remedy in the 1800s after the Native Americans had been using it for years. Coincidentally, a Native American shaman played a key role in "Roswell." Now, echinacea with goldenseal is a popular immune system booster. Your dad may not understand you, but you and echinacea are in good company. Echinacea's effects are still a source of dispute in the herbal community--especially when it comes to supplements. Not all capsules are created equal. Some hints to avoid one of those "anti drug" talks:

  • Buy from a reputable manufacturer, not your cousin in Wichita who your dad never liked anyway.
  • Take echinacea when the seasons change, even if you live in California, but don't ingest it every day.
  • Consider taking the pure herbal extract instead of capsules.
  • Stick with a regimen of immune system supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, cinnamon, omega 3, and acidophilus.
  • Buy your dad the supplements, but don't force him to take them. Some old dogs can't change. As long as your dad doesn't give you the "just say no" speech, you're fine to take echinacea. Although you're not sure what he'll say about the alien love triangle you're involved in a la "Roswell."

   

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