herbal medicines are traditionally used for the treatment of inflammatory and viral
diseases such as cold, cough and upper respiratory infections. Recent studies
show that they can also be used as antioxidants or free radical terminators to
prevent cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and aging. In fact, Echinacea has
become one of the most widely used herbal medicines and dietary supplements in
Europe, North America, and Australia. *
The parts of Echinacea used in herbal medicines are the roots and aerial parts
of three species: Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea. angustifolia and Echinacea
pallida. The main active compounds of Echinacea are caffeic acid derivatives
(phenolic compounds), alkamides and polysaccharides. Among caffeic acid
derivatives, several components, such as caftaric acid, chlorogenic acid,
caffeic acid, echinacoside, and chichoric acid, are identified from Echinacea
extracts. Chicoric acid is the major phenolic compound in E. purpurea, but
minor in E. angustifolia and E. pallida. Echinacoside is the main phenolic
compound in E. angustifolia and E. pallida, but only trace is found in E.
Studies have shown that chichoric acid has immunostimulating effects, as well
as antioxidant properties. Recently, it has been found to inhibit HIV-1
replication. Echinacoside does not contribute its immunostimulating activity,
but it has antioxidant and cicatrizing activities.
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The pharmacological activity of each Echinacea species appears to reflect the
slight variation in the amount of active ingredients and their chemical
profiles. All three species of Echinacea are found to have a protective effect
on the free radical-induced degradation of collagen, which is probably due to
its polyphenolic compounds. Extracts of E. purpurea roots have greater free
radical scavenging capacity than those of E. pallida or E. angustifolia due to
more amounts of phenolics constitute found in E. purpurea. E. purpurea is also
well known to boost the immune system in prevention of common cold, flu, and
chronic respiratory infections because it is rich in cichoric acid.
Nutraceutical preparations of Echinacea are primarily based on the extracts or
juices from their roots, leaves, stems, and flowers. In herbals and supplements
of Echinacea, the active ingredients in recommended therapeutic amounts depend
upon the quality of plant material, preparation procedures, formulations and
storage conditions. These active ingredients, especially phenolic acids, are
mainly responsible for the pharmacological activities of Echinacea extracts and
plant materials. Therefore, the profile of their content represents a useful
fingerprint to define the identity and the quality of these products.
To ensure the quality of products, it is important to have reliable and
practical analytical methods for the determination of phenolic acids in complex
natural matrices. It is also a necessary step to clearly identify the different
species of Echinacea to distinguish the efficacy of the different plants and
their parts for proper therapeutic usage.
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*Disclaimer: None of the above
statements have been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to
diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. As always, consult your physician
before taking any and all supplements. LifeSource Vitamins. Individual results
Disclaimer: All the
information contained throughout this website is based upon the opinion of the
founder of LifeSource Vitamins, Bruce Brightman, and the entire team at
LifeSource Vitamins whose relentless research and studies have been ongoing
since 1992. Other articles and information are based on the opinions of
the authors, who retain the copyright as marked on the article. The
information on this site is not intended to replace your health care
professional, but to enhance your relationship with them. Doing your own
studying and research and taking your health care into your own hands is always
best, especially in partnership with your health care professional. If you
are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have any medical conditions,
always consult your health care professional before taking supplements based on
the information on this site.
Echinacea has shown to support, Wound healing, Bladder infections, Fungal infections of the skin, Colds & flu, Controlling Blood Sugar, Healthy Cell Growth, Breast Cancer Support, Reducing Inflammation, Manages Anxiety, and Blood Pressure Support,