Our earth is replete with innumerable varieties of herbs that carry special healing characteristics. Since ancient times, these herbs have been used in various forms such as teas, concoctions etc. for curing different types of diseases. There are some herbs that have miraculous properties and can cure severe diseases. One such herb that has been rightly termed, as the miracle plant, is Echinacea Angustifolia. It is the most popular healing plant that is also considered to possess exceptional nutritional values. The Plains Indians from North America used to chew and apply the plant’s extract on wounds to heal wounds and cure snake bites. Echinacea Angustifolia is rich in various vitamins like B1, B2, B3 and other health promoting components like terpenoids and kaempferol. Extracts of these plants are rich in natural anti-biotics echinacein and echinacoside that provide it the ability to neutralize cell and tissue invading cells.
During the mid-19th century to early part of 20th century Echinacea Angustifolia herb was popularly used as an antimicrobial herb in the eclectic medicine. It was used for treating anthrax, snakebite and as pain reliever. By the 1930’s Echinacea Angustifolia had become extremely popular in America and Europe and its popularity soared further when a Swiss herbal supplement maker accidentally came to know that the native American tribes from South Dakota used Echinacea Angustifolia for preventing cold. Since then, use of this herb as preventive measure against cold was started. Different tribes such as Kiowa, Cheyenne Pawnee, Lakotah used it to treat common cold symptoms such as cough, sore throats, head ache and as an analgesic. The plant was earlier known as ‘elk root’ as the North Americans found elks eating this plant.
The plant of Echinacea Angustifolia is known to be drought tolerant, herbaceous and perennial and grows up to a height of around 140 cm. Most of the species of Echinacea Angustifolia grow from tap root except E. purpurea that develops from adventitious roots. The plant has erect and straight stems and mostly is un-branched. The leaves, both cauline and basal are arranging in alternation and have rough and hairy texture with uniseriate trichomes (1to 4 cell rings). Echinacea Angustifolia is also known as cone flower as the flowers of these plants have cone at the center. The flowers are quite distinctive and have different colors from red to purple depending upon the species. Echinacea Angustifolia is known to have a long life. Mostly roots, flowerheads and leaves of this plant are used for making medicines.