What is Echinacea?
Echinacea is a popular herbal remedy used to treat a variety of infection including cold and upper respiratory tract infections. Echinacea has been in use for long and is found effective in treating certain conditions in children.
It contains compounds and antioxidants that have multiple health benefits. One compound, chicoric acid, present in Echinacea helps in reducing inflammation in the brain that is associated with memory loss.
The antioxidants present in Echinacea help protect the cell from free radical damage, improving the immunity of the body.
It is available in the form of chewable, gummies, lozenges, syrup, liquid extract, capsules, powder, and tea form.
Uses of Echinacea
Echinacea is useful in the following conditions:
- Lowers blood sugar level
- Reduce the occurrence of upper respiratory tract infection
- Reduce inflammation of the body and brain
- Reduces the severity and duration of a common cold
- Treats acne
- Heal wound
- Reduces the feeling of anxiety
It is a good source of antioxidants and reduces the chances of cancer and inflammation in the body. The antioxidants present in Echinacea are selenium, vitamin C, flavonoid, zinc, and beta-carotene. Its regular usage can reverse or slow down the effects of some serious causes of inflammation.
Benefits of Echinacea in Children
Echinacea has been found to be effective in treating certain conditions in children and these include:
Echinacea is often used to treat cold in children. In a study, it was found to reduce cold, by 58% (1).
Though there are certain studies that did not find Echinacea producing any result in the treatment of this condition (2, 3). In these studies, it was also found some children being hypersensitive to the use of Echinacea. They developed rashes.
An ear infection is one of the most common diagnoses in children. Echinacea benefits the immune system, which could be a reason for it benefitting any kind of infection.
More research is needed to confirm its effects in treating the ear infection in children, as a study was conducted and found no value of Echinacea in treating them (4).
For the elderly, it also acts as an anti-aging agent. It helps reduce irritation and blemishes on the skin.
More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of Echinacea in treating acne.
Strengthens Upper Respiratory System
Echinacea is known to improve many upper respiratory infections by boosting the immune system.
The plant has anti-inflammatory power and can help heal infection caused by strep throat, whooping cough, diphtheria, acute sinusitis, croup, inflammation, and other flu variations.
Echinacea tea gives immediate results.
Improves Mental Health
The key to treating mental condition depends on the correct dosage, as an excess of Echinacea can reverse the benefits of anxiety.
Works as a Natural Laxative
Constipation leads to stomach cramping, gas, and even a problem of piles or fissures in the babies.
Echinacea is an herb which with regular usage can help heal stomach symptoms and act as a natural laxative to cure chronic constipation.
Its tea is an excellent way to loosen the bowels in those who suffer from constipation.
Dosage of Echinacea
For herbal remedies, there is no official dosage recommendation for children.
Whichever product is brought, there are dosage written, that can be followed. For children, it is determined according to age and the weight of the child.
Precautions While Using Echinacea
When giving children anything it is very important to completely know about the product. Echinacea is an herbal remedy, which is not regulated or overseen by the FDA.
All Echinacea are not the same. Some preparations use the Echinacea species, some use the part of the plant and some extraction methods. This makes it hard to determine the dosage to be given to the child.
Where and how Echinacea is manufactured, affect the quality and safety of the product. Since Echinacea is not a regulated product, there can be issues with the labeling which are often found to be misleading.
When buying any herbal supplement, it is important to look for a trusted manufacturer who provides transparency about their product and the ingredients present in it.
When thinking of giving any remedy to the child, it is important to check with the pediatrician, even if it is an herbal product.