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Information @ a Glance

General 

  • Echinacea is a genus consisting of nine species of flowering plants in the Family Asteraceae, all native to eastern North America, and often known as the purple coneflower.

  • They are herbaceous, drought-tolerant perennial plants growing to 1 or 2 m in height.

  • Like all Asteraceae, the flowers are a composite inflorescence, with purple (rarely yellow or white) florets arranged in a prominent, somewhat cone-shaped head.

  • Echinacea contains alkylamides, caffeic acid derivatives, polysaccharides, essential oils, and other constituents, including polyacetylene flavonoids and glycoproteins.

Growth and Cultivation

  • Echinacea  is quite tolerant of drought, though grows better in cultivation with adequate watering, and can tolerate fairly diverse soil types.

  • Echinacea is generally indigenous to soils with a pH of 6.0-7.0. Selection of good sites will be important for this crop since it is a root crop and a deep well drained loam to sandy loam soil will be best for growing and harvesting.

  • Echinacea species usually grow on relatively poor soil without fertilizer.

Applications

  • Echinacea products are widely used to treat colds and flus.
  • Echinacea works to increase the activity of the immune system by stimulating white blood cells, which attack the viruses and bacteria that lead to illness or infection.
  • In some parts of Europe, Echinacea is taken in an IV as supplemental treatment for some forms of cancer. Some European medical professionals also inject Echinacea to remedy infections of the urinary tract.
  • Echinacea can also be used externally to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It can also be an ingredient in hemorrhoid treatments or to sooth inset bites.

Market 

  • Marketing echinacea involves many channels. Some growers do their  own processing and market their own brands in health food stores.

  • Roots and plant material are generally marketed to herbalists, manufacturers, distributors, and pharmaceutical companies. Echinacea is sold in various forms, including teas, ointments, pills, tinctures, creams and powders.

  • U.S consumers spent over $12 billion on natural supplements and sales are increasing by more than 10 percent yearly. After multiherb and  others, echinacea had the largest market share at 9 percent.

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