Echinacea side effects are well documented, as it remains one of the most popular herbal products on the market today. Echinacea is considered a powerful immune booster, and as such is used widely today to combat colds, flu and other illnesses.
Echinacea is a tall, daisylike flower native to the Great Plains region of North America. The roots of the plant are where the most therapeutic benefits lie, however the leaves and flowers are also utilized for various medicinal applications.
Native Americans used the herb to treat a wide variety of conditions, from bites and wounds to measles and gangrene.
Today, echinacea is most widely used to boost the immune system and for its ability to fight off infection and illness. Specifically, the herb is able to increase the potency and activity of white blood cells which fight "invaders", and ramp up secretion of an important secretion called interleukin.
Echinacea is also effective in fighting viruses, bacteria and fungi. In numerous studies the herb was shown to lessen the severity and duration of colds and influenza. Some other applications include treating wounds and skin conditions, and it has shown some promise in treating some cancer symptoms.
Side effects are generally mild when taken in recommended dosages, however a condition known as echinacea numb tongue is quite common. It might appear as a tingling feeling, and it is harmless.
However, it is important to note that the FDA lists echinacea as an herb of undefined safety. This is probably due to the echinacea allergic reaction experienced by those who are allergic to plants in the ragweed and marigold families.
You may experience echinacea side effects if you have a systemic disease such as TB or immune disorders such as HIV or lupus. Due to its effect on the immune system it may cause echinacea allergic reactions in these instances.
Also very important, do not use the herb for an extended period of time. After a period of eight weeks one of the echinacea side effects could include immune system suppression.
As with all herbal supplements, make sure you consult your physician or qualified herbal professional before taking this herb to avoid echinacea side effects that may occur.