Whole Formulas offers six powerful echinacea supplements for outstanding immune support. Never fumigated or irradiated, and never sourced from the wild (echinacea and goldenseal are threatened species). Learn more about this incredible herb below:
The Whole Formulas Echinacea Line
Echinacea at a Glance
Native to the United States and southern Canada, there are nine known species of echinacea, commonly referred to as “coneflowers” due to their beautiful, ample blooms and prominent cone-like centers. These dense, prickly centers are said to resemble the spines of an angry hedgehog (“Echinos" is hedgehog in Greek).
Archaeological evidence suggests Native Americans may have used echinacea extensively, and today it's one of the most popular herbs in America, used to support the immune system.
Echinacea Health Benefits
Researchers are finally beginning to understand that each part of the echinacea plant has unique functions that can benefit the immune system in many ways. The two most important active constituents in echinacea are polysaccharides and alkylamides.
Polysaccharides focus on supporting immune system function.
Alkylamides support a normal inflammatory response.
When choosing an echinacea supplement preparation, it’s important to find one that properly identifies what part of the plant is used.
Echinacea Roots, Aerial Parts, or Whole Plant
Echinacea products vary widely, containing different species of echinacea and different plant parts (root vs. aerial portion). The quality of the harvest, processing and manufacturing also drastically effect the product efficacy.
The roots of the echinacea plant are naturally rich in alkylamides, associated with supporting inflammatory response. Echinacea root may be more effective when used in combination with other immune-supporting herbs like black elderberry, ginger root, and Andrographis.
Aerial parts of the echinacea plant (parts completely exposed to air) are higher in polysaccharides, associated with enhancing and supporting the immune system throughout the season. It can be taken in a lower dose, long-term. Polysaccharides from echinacea are best taken with other immune-supporting herbs also rich in immune polysaccharides, such as astragalus root, larch gum, maitake mushroom extract, black elderberry, and ginger root.
How to Take It
As a general rule, extracts made by using ethanol contain higher levels of alkylamides and phenolic compounds (supports inflammatory levels), while extracts made by using water are more likely to contain compounds such as polysaccharides, lipoproteins, and glycoproteins (immune system).
It’s important to choose a high quality echinacea supplement, and know which parts of the plant it contains.
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods
University of Maryland Medical Center "Echinacea"
Gaia Herbs. A Research Review on the short and long-term use of echinacea. Feb. 10, 2010.