Woman in winter blowing her nose

Herb of the month: Echinacea

Medical herbalist Gabriella Clarke introduces echinacea, used traditionally by Native Americans to treat sore throats, toothache as well as snakebites and blood poisoning

It’s that time of year again when coughs, colds and viruses start to make a show in schools and workplaces across the country. It is well known that echinacea is one of the best herbal remedies for strengthening our immune systems and warding off winter bugs but confusion still reigns as to how much to take and for how long.

According to some experts you need to dose up at the first sign of a sniffle and sneeze, while others recommend taking a smaller dose regularly throughout the winter as a protective measure[1] [2] .The jury is still out but a good option is to have a daily cup of echinacea tea and to take a supplement at the first sign of any symptoms and to continue for 10 days.


The name Echinacea comes from the Greek word ‘ekhinos’ meaning hedgehog, referring to the spikey nature of the flowers’ centre.

For more information about Echinacea visit the Echinacea fact file

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23455214

[2] http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/echinacea