To enhance immune function
Echinacea (pronounced eK-i-NAY-sha) is the top-selling herbal supplement in the United States today, accounting for almost 10 percent of herbal sales. Its principal use is for the treatment of colds and upper respiratory tract infections. Its popularity stems from the fact that it has minimal side effects compared with the various cold medications on the market. Echinacea is also valued for its reported ability to enhance immune function.
There are nine varieties of echinacea indigenous to North America that grow in the Midwest and central plains. These members of the daisy family have dark cone-shaped flower heads, with radiating petals that are mostly colored shades of rose, pink, or purple. The roots of echinacea are harvested in the autumn after the plants have gone to seed. The fresh above-the-ground parts are usually harvested at blooming time.
Read more about Echinacea …
There is more to it than the sting
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is one plant you learn about quickly when you walk into it. The serrated leaves and stems are covered with stinging hairs that contain histamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. When the stinging hairs are touched, they can cause local irritation and a burning sensation that may last for several hours. Fortunately, the stinging hairs on the plant are inactivated by drying or cooking the plant.
Read more about Nettles …
The cranberry bush (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is a low-growing evergreen shrub with leathery leaves and bright-red berries. This member of the heath family grows in mountains, forests, and damp bogs within the United States from Alaska to Virginia. However, most of the commercial berries are produced in Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
Native Americans used cranberries for both food and medicine. The berries were enjoyed either raw or sweetened with maple sugar. In addition, they used them in sauces, breads, and puddings. Cran-berries were also used in poultices for treating wounds. Cranberry leaves were typically used for diarrhea and urinary disorders. The sailors during Colonial days used cranberries to prevent scurvy.
Read more about The Cranberry Cure …