Echinacea tea, a herbal tea with a sweet and potent floral flavor, has been used by North American tribes and indigenous groups for centuries as a natural remedy. Recent research shows that echinacea tea is not only delicious but also offers potential health benefits, including boosting immune health and fending off the common cold.
What Is Echinacea Tea?
Echinacea, also known as the American coneflower or the pale purple coneflower, is an herb commonly used to make herbal supplements, essential oils, tea, and herbal remedies. The tea is made by infusing the flowers and leaves of the echinacea plant in hot water.
Echinacea belongs to the Asteraceae family, which includes daisy plants, and is native to North America, including the United States. Native American tribes and the Great Plains Indians have been using echinacea tea for hundreds of years to treat ear infections and pain.
Types of Echinacea Plants Used for Tea
There are three main types of echinacea plants used to make tea: Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea angustifolia. The purpurea variety, revered in Europe as an immune system booster, has reddish-purple flowers. Echinacea angustifolia has large leaves and violet-colored flowers, while the pallida variety has more pale rose-colored flowers.
Echinacea is packed with polysaccharides and vitamin C, which may help promote overall health and well-being. Echinacea tea is naturally caffeine-free, making it a perfect drink to enjoy throughout the day.
Echinacea tea offers a refreshing and invigorating tingling feeling with a strong, floral flavor. It has the sharp freshness of pine needles and the soft, round flavor of meadowsweet. For a smoother flavor, it is commonly blended with lemongrass and mint.
Benefits of Echinacea Tea
Echinacea tea has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of health issues. In this article, we will explore some of the health benefits associated with consuming echinacea tea, as well as its potential side effects.
Echinacea tea has long been known to improve the immune system and fight off infections. It contains antibacterial properties that prevent pathogens from making you sick. Studies have shown that consuming echinacea tea can lower the risk of catching a common cold by 58% and reduce recovery time by one and a half days. It also helps to eliminate free radicals that cause oxidative stress and cell damage, thus improving overall health.
Echinacea tea is effective in fighting off yeast infections and urinary tract infections due to its antibacterial powers. The compounds found in echinacea leaves, particularly caffeic acid and other tea polyphenols, demonstrate antiviral activities that prevent infection. Research shows that echinacea may also boost white blood cell counts, although this is still being studied.
Echinacea tea has been used for centuries to treat pain, including toothaches and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be used to treat digestive pain, such as cramps and irritable bowel syndrome. A study found that people who consumed echinacea used fewer pain medications to treat symptoms of the cold.
The fragrance of echinacea can help decrease feelings of sadness and stress by triggering the release of dopamine, which controls happiness. Echinacea may also decrease levels of cortisol, which is commonly known as the stress hormone. A study found that echinacea significantly suppressed excitatory synapses, leading to fewer emotions of fear and anxiety when taking echinacea extract.
Soothes Respiratory Ailments
Echinacea tea may help treat asthma symptoms and upper respiratory tract infections caused by allergies or the common cold. It improves air flow in the throat and lungs by relaxing inflamed muscles and suppresses histamine, the body’s overreaction to normal stimuli that results in allergic responses.
Side Effects of Echinacea Tea
While echinacea tea has few side effects when consumed in small amounts, it is important to keep the following in mind before trying it.
If you are allergic to the echinacea plant or other plants in the same family, avoid consuming echinacea tea. This is particularly important for children under the age of 12, as they may develop more serious allergic reactions to echinacea than adults.
There is currently very little research on the effects of echinacea and pregnancy. Pregnant women and those who are nursing should seek medical advice before consuming echinacea tea or other herbal remedies.
Echinacea tea has a strong aromatic smell that may make some individuals feel nauseous. Chemical compounds in echinacea tea may also irritate the stomach lining and cause stomach cramps, pain, or irritation. Limit consumption of echinacea tea to one to three cups per day to avoid negative side effects.
Brewing Echinacea Tea: A Step-by-Step Guide
Echinacea tea is a delicious and aromatic beverage that offers a variety of health benefits. This western tea has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy and is an excellent way to enjoy the flavor and benefits of echinacea. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to brew a perfect cup of echinacea tea.
- 1 handful fresh echinacea leaves or 1 tablespoon echinacea root or leaves
- 8-10 oz water
- Sweetener such as honey (optional)
Step 1: Boil Water Begin by heating water on the stove or in a tea kettle until it reaches a rapid boil.
Step 2: Steep Echinacea Place the dried or fresh echinacea in a tea strainer and set it in a tea cup. Add the boiling water and allow the echinacea to steep for 10-15 minutes. The longer the tea steeps, the stronger the floral flavor will become.
Step 3: Add Sweeteners or Flavor Additives Once the tea has steeped, add sweeteners or flavor additives such as lemon, honey, and mint according to your preference.
Experience Echinacea Tea
Echinacea tea is not only delicious, but it also provides numerous health benefits. This tea is an excellent remedy for colds and sore throats, and it can also improve your mood. When cold season arrives, having echinacea tea on hand is a great idea. The soothing beverage can help warm you up as temperatures drop and alleviate the pain of a sore throat. Additionally, echinacea tea may also help speed up recovery time so you can get back to your daily routine.