‘Quality that tingles’ refers to the tingling on the tongue when consuming Echinacea angustifolia. This distinct and important tingling of the tongue when you taste Echinacea denotes the high levels of ‘alkylamides’ being present, which triggers a therapeutic cascade within the immune system.
Why I and Others Blend two Species
The special ability for us to absorb these tingling biochemical compounds is in part a huge reason for the success of Echinacea. Like Kerry Bone and Dr. Schulze, I use a blend of Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea. Although Echinacea purpurea is not nearly as tingly as Echinacea angustifolia (and this is a signature of having fewer alkylamides) but it does have an ability to enhance the ‘bioavailability’ of Echinacea angustifolia and available alkylamides, over a longer period of time. So, for this reason, it is good to pair the two together. Potency and slow release basically.
Not just Colds & Flu
Echinacea has traditionally been used for hundreds of years as a treatment for infections. It is only ‘recently’ that it was pigeon holed into a ‘cold and flu’ remedy. Its antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties made it a ‘go to’ choice for Native American Indians and other people since the arrival of Columbus. Echinacea works ‘indirectly’ compared to an antibiotic which works ‘directly’. It helps us when our immunity is lowered (by illness, stress etc) and when our immunity starts to be less potent as we age.
Daily Immune Support
‘Feeding’ and enabling our immune system on a daily basis with Echinacea and or other herbs is probably vital in today’s world. Antibiotics are for some unwittingly drip-fed to us in low doses on a daily basis, making our immunity less able long term.
[This is via the sub-therapeutic amount of antibiotics routinely fed to animals. These drip drip amounts of antibiotics kill off the weakest bacteria but let the more resistant ones survive. Human consumption of this fish/meat/eggs/milk/cheese etc causes more drug resistant infections as the decades' tick by. This, of course, won’t apply to those choosing the organic or vegan route.]
Caution with Echinacea
It is still widely cautioned for any kind of auto-immune situations and I leave you to take your own lead with your practitioner on this.
Echinacea can have a ‘Synergistic Relationship’
Clinical research shows us that Echinacea can work with antibiotics to speed recovery from infection. Apparently, it is the ‘arabinogalactan’ in Echinacea that goes a long way to achieve this. In other words, it's not just its famous two compounds of polysaccharides and alkylamides. Herbs can and do frequently replace antibiotics but where they can’t they work ‘synergistically’ to enhance the work of the antibiotic. (Echinacea is also anti-inflammatory and has antimicrobial capabilities alongside ‘building up’ the immune system). If you have begun to use other herbs but find they are not enough then the addition of an antibiotic can in some cases become sadly necessary but studies reveal that the antibiotic will work more swiftly and conclusively as opposed to an antibiotic on its own.
Several studies in Germany and America have been carried out using Echinacea in combination with one or two other herbs (one study with 4,000 patients) using complex evaluation means it was proved conclusively that Echinacea and the other herbs made an enormous difference.
Another factor of Echinacea is that its actions are intelligent; it modulates immune responses:-
- It will not activate the immune system in the absence of any immunological challenge.
- It tends to modulate the immune responses of macrophages and T Cells, toning the response down in the face of strong stimulus thus helping the immune system to operate more efficiently.
Echinacea for Anxiety…..Really?
Surely Echinacea is for modulating the immune system our cold and flu friend, our immune ally for all and everything. But a surprising discovery came about when researchers at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, were analyzing different species of Echinacea and found that some of the plants contained cannabinoid receptors which are compounds that affect brain chemistry. A compound in Echinacea angustifolia root [and this species only] has a relaxing effect on the brain (that does not overly sedate). ‘Endocannabinoid’ receptors influence the way the brain experiences anxiety and in the study, Echinacea angustifolia was pitched against prescription anti-anxiety drugs. Unlike many of these drugs, Echinacea does not cause tiredness and other side effects.
One of the main studies undertaken was published in March 2012 in an issue of phytotherapy research, and the published results concluded: “noticeably reduced stress and anxiety in just three days”. Taken for just one week, ‘real differences’ appeared and pitched against other sedative herbs like chamomile, kava, and lavender, the Echinacea seemed to work much faster.
How Does it Work Again?
It appears to go some way to restore healthy brain chemistry. The root of Echinacea angustifolia contains substances that bind to specific brain receptors which tell the body to calm down; they have an ‘anxiolytic’ effect in other words.
Dose is Important
Apparently low doses for anxiety are important. Studies show that 7.5mls (just over a 5ml teaspoon) or 40mg x 2/3 daily initially. Then down to 20mg (1/2 teaspoon) x 2/3 daily after 2-3 days. For 7 days or occasional use. Importantly, when the dose is greatly increased it acts as an immune modulator rather than in its role as an anxiolytic.
Keep in Touch
I’d love to hear from anyone who has found Echinacea angustifolia in low doses useful for anxiety. Incidentally, ‘salivating’ is a useful ‘de-fear’ mechanism and is produced as a part of the tingling on the tongue with Echinacea angustifolia. This can only serve to help the other anxiolytic biochemistry strategies.