Echinacea is commonly used to treat or prevent colds, flu, and infections, and for wound healing. Many studies have looked at how well echinacea works to prevent or shorten the course of a cold, but none were conclusive. Some studies do show some benefit of using echinacea for upper respiratory infections.

Echinacea is a lot more than those pretty, purple coneflowers you see dotting gardens. These blooms have been used for centuries as medicine in the form of teas, juice, and extracts. Today, they can be taken as powders or supplements.

The best-known use of echinacea is to shorten symptoms of the common coldTrusted Source, but more studies are needed to verify this benefit and to understand how echinacea boosts immunity when a virus is present.

Generally, save a few potential side effects, echinacea is relatively safe. Even though it needs more testing, you can always choose to use it if you’re hoping to see your cold symptoms end more quickly.


Some of the earliest people to use echinacea as a medicinal herb were Native Americans. The first archaeological evidence dates back to the 18th century.

Echinacea could be beneficial for:

  • colds
  • immunity
  • bronchitis
  • upper respiratory infections

Things to consider

  • It can be tough on the digestive tract and upset the stomach.
  • Allergic reactions are possible.

Echinacea (echinacea purpurea) is also commonly known as purple coneflower. This is another flower that is normally used in tea to help soothe different symptoms and to strengthen the immune system. This popular herb is used most often to accelerate recovery from the common cold. It’s important to note that echinacea can cause negative effects like nausea and dizziness if taken consistently in large doses.

Echinacea health benefits:

  • Treats and helps prevent urinary tract infections
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Relieves upper respiratory issues
  • Fights infections
  • Alleviates symptoms from the common cold

Common uses:

  • Brew roots, leaves and flowers for a tea
  • Consume as a pill