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07 May: Immune boosters – Echinacea

The first time I became aware of Echinacea, was at a grocery store tea isle. The packaging of Echinacea tea promised improved immunity for the person drinking the tea. I never thought to check the validity of this claim until now with the novel coronavirus pandemic, and I found some interesting information. Echinacea is an extract derived from a perennial flowering plant Echinacea purpurea.┬áIt is unclear what the active ingredients of Echinacea are exactly, but it contains many substances with potential medicinal effects. (3) I found a relatively recent article discussing the effects of Echinacea on immunity, and more specifically on the components of physical barrier function (think skin, lining of the lungs), innate immunity (mechanisms that are in place against all invaders) and adaptive immunity (mechanisms that attack specific pathogens). The authors compiled multiple studies, and found mostly promising results. One study saw that Echinacea could help promote the…