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Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench Asteraceae. Coneflower. Distribution: North America. Austin (2004) records that the roots were chewed, or used as a tincture for coughs by the Choctaw. Combined with Rhus typhina to treat venereal disease by the Delaware. Very little record of this being used by Native Americans, who used E. angustifolia very widely - Regarded as a panacea and magical herb. This and E. pallida were used to treat snakebite, spider bite, cancer, toothache, burns, sores, wounds, flu and colds. E. purpurea in modern times has been used as an ‘immunostimulant’, but is known to cause a fall in white cell count, and to be purely a placebo. Licensed for use as a Traditional Herbal Medicine, which does not require proof of efficacy, in the UK. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.
- Dr Henry Oakeley