Purpuria or Augusti Folia
Called by many the The King of Blood Purifiers because it improves
lymphatic filtration and drainage. This is the herb that has a
great deal of American history attached to it. In the late 1800's a
man named Joseph Mayer was a peddler of goods too the Plains Indians.
While trading with the Indians he noted that they made use of the
root of a flower (the Cone Flower or Echinacea) that grew on the
Plains. The Indians used this root to cure everything from
rattlesnake bites to fevers, injuries and infections. The Indians
knew that this root increased the body's ability to recover, and
protected it from poisons.
Mr. Mayer made a tonic of this root by mixing it with alcohol; he
bottled this tonic and sold it out of the back of his wagon as a
cure for everything. As the story goes: to prove the effectiveness
of the tonic he would let live rattlesnakes bite him while on stage,
he never became ill. He became a famous showman and healer selling
what became known as snake oil.
Through a Professor King, (one of the leading doctors at the turn of
the century); Mayer proved that Echinacea was a powerful healer.
Mayer sent a case of the tonic and a plant to the professor to be
tested. At this same time King's wife was severely ill with cancer
and unknown to King she stopped taking the medicines he had
prescribed and began using Mayer's tonic; after some months she
fully recovered and related this information to her husband. With
King's help Echinacea swept the country and was widely used by
doctors for their patients.
Echinacea was only later abandoned when the AMA destroyed herbal
medicine in this country and drove the over 20,000 practicing herbal
doctors out of business. In the 1970's Echinacea swept back onto
the market but many of the preparations out there are weak and
As a herbal student I was shown the bench mark for testing good
Echinacea, you can use this test against any preparation you will
find on the market. You take some of the preparation and put it on
your tongue, after about 15 seconds you will find your tongue will
get a tingling, numbing sensation (not uncomfortable), that should
last about 5 minutes; the stronger the sensation the more powerful
the Echinacea. If you do not experience this sensation the
preparation is dead and useless, take it back to the store and get
your money back.
Two groups of researchers recently conducted a review of the
scientific literature to determine whether echinacea is safe and
effective in preventing or treating the common cold. Both groups of
researchers identified 13 high-quality European studies including a
variety of different echinacea preparations. Nine looked at the
effectiveness of echinacea to treat the common cold and four
examined whether echinacea helps prevent this familiar health
problem. Of these 13 studies all but 1 found that echinacea (when
taken at the first sign of a cold for 8 to 10 days) reduced cold
symptoms or shortened their duration. For example, in a study of
95 people with early symptoms of cold and flu (such as runny nose,
scratchy throat, and fever), those who drank 5 to 6 cups of
echinacea tea every day for 5 days felt better sooner than those who
drank tea without echinacea. Other studies have found that
echinacea reduces cold symptoms by roughly 34 percent.
Echinacea is an excellent blood cleanser. Echinacea works like
penicillin in the body without penicillin's side effects.
The use of Echinacea functions especially well in so-called
glandular infections and ailments. It is used to treat strep throat
and lymph glands. Echinacea cleanses the morbid matter from the
Echinacea also expels poisons and toxins. Echinacea activates the
body's defense system against all outside influences and
inflammatory conditions. Echinacea has antibiotic, anti viral and
anti-inflammatory properties. Echinacea blocks the receptor site of
the virus on the surface of the cell membranes preventing cell
Ang-Lee M, Moss J, Yuan C. Herbal medicines and perioperative care.
Brinkeborn RM, Shah DV, Degenring FH. Echinaforce and other
Echinacea fresh plant preparations in the treatment of the common
cold. A randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind clinical trial.
Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
Nutritional Herbology, by Mark Pedersen, Wendell W. Whitman Company, 1998
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 1987
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., Lotus Press, 1988