Echinacea or Astragalus?


Which is your immune tonic of choice…

Echinacea (Cone flower) is a well know over-the-counter remedy which is readily available.

The use of Echinacea originates from the Native American peoples who informed the European settlers of the virtues of this wonderful herb – hence it was brought back to the old world from the new world. 

Originally it was used for snake bites, boils and slow healing ulcers. However, know it is renowned as an immune tonic.

Echinacea is mostly used in 2 ways:
• As treatment at the onset of infections e.g. colds, flu, respiratory infections. Especially where there are lymph glands involvement.
• As an Immune tonic – people will take a relatively low dose on a daily basis to strengthen their immune system and prevent infections E.G. the flu. This is where the advice to take for 3 weeks and have a week off seems to have arisen. There is no specific medical reason to do this, just common-sense dictates that it may be a good idea.

It is not generally regarded as wise to take antibiotics preventively as they do tend to weaken the function of the immune system, and would not work as effectively if needed in an acute situation. Echinacea can be regarded as a “Herbal Antibiotic”. While its beneficial effects at being anti-viral and anti-bacterial are well recognised, and it is not really the same as an antibiotic; if taken consistently the same might hold true.

Astragalus – Milk vetch comes to us from the treasure trove which is Chinese Herbal Medicine. It has a sweet taste and is regarded as strengthening the digestion, lifting up sunken energy and tonifying the Lungs. In Chinese medicine theory one of the functions of the Lungs is to generate the “defensive barrier” (analogised to the immune system) which protects the body from invasion by “external evils” (bacteria and viruses).   

Modern bio medical research supports this traditional usage – Astragalus is a fantastic immune tonic and has been shown to raise White Blood Cell count and the Killer cells of your immune system which engulf and destroy bacterial and viral invaders.

In Chinese herbal medicine herbs are often combined into formulae – one such formula has the wonderfully evocative name of “Jade Windscreen powder”. This formula has been used consistently for the last 800 years and is the classic formula to strengthen the defensive barrier (immune system). This formula has Astragalus as the main Emperor herb, ably aided and abetted by another three herbs.

Summary

Both of these herbs are truly fantastic.

Echinacea is best taken at the very earliest sign of the onset of infections – primarily respiratory – cold / flu / sore throat. We have taken the best herbs from the traditional Chinese Herbal formula for the onset of coughs and colds and combined it with Echinacea and other western herbs to bring you our “Onset of cough / cold fever predominant” mixture. If taken frequently at the first inkling of an infection then 8 times out of 10 it is possible to either stop the cold starting or vastly minimise the duration and severity of the cold. To purchase click here

Astragalus should not be taken in the initial stages of infections where there are symptoms of fever and chills.

Astragalus should be taken as a tonic when there is no acute illness. There is growing evidence to support its ancient use as a tonic. An extract from the plant has shown “significant age-reversal effect in the immune system.”, and Astragalus has “lifespan extension, anti-vascular ageing, anti-brain ageing, and anti-cancer effects,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758356/

We have an excellent “Immune tonic” which is based on this traditional remedy but has additional herbs added to enhance the effect for the 21st century. To purchase click here.