Basics of Botanicals: Echinacea – Bluebird Botanicals

Basics of Botanicals: Echinacea

Our immune systems are highly complex, responsible for keeping our bodies healthy and in balance. Optimizing immune health involves combining simple lifestyle techniques, a balanced diet, vitamins and botanicals for dynamic immune system support. Today, we’re focusing on echinacea - one of the most popular botanicals for maintaining a healthy immune system - and why you may want to consider adding it to your regular wellness routine.

History of echinacea

You don’t have to be an herbalist to recognize the name “echinacea.” It’s one of the most common botanical allies used to support a healthy immune system. You can find this pollinator plant growing in gardens around North America and Europe, often referred to as “Purple Coneflower,” though only three species are used therapeutically: Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia, and E. pallida. The latin name Echinacea is from the Greek echinos which means “hedgehog,” referring to its spiky seed head. Echinacea is in the Asteraceae family, which makes it a cousin to arnica, chamomile, dandelion, and sunflowers.

Dating back to at least the 17th century, no fewer than 15 indigenous tribes of the Great Plains called this plant “Snakeroot'' and used it traditionally as a tea  for a variety of applications. Later, echinacea was the darling of American Eclectic physicians for a host of conditions in the 1830s through 1930s. Fresh juice, tincture of the dried root, and fresh plant tincture were the preferred formats. Today, echinacea products can be found on the shelves of vitamin shops, herbal apothecaries, and grocery stores, making it one of the most common household botanicals found in capsules, tinctures, tablets, and tea blends. It is even used clinically by German doctors to this day.

How echinacea works

Thanks to modern technology, echinacea is available as whole plant extracts standardized to the key active constituents responsible for its effects on the immune system, called alkylamides (al-KEEL-uh-mides). If you have ever taken echinacea tincture and experienced a slight numbing of the tongue, that’s thanks to this class of fat-soluble constituents found abundantly in the roots and aerial parts. While essential oils and organic acids contribute to the overall effect as well, alkylamides are now understood to support healthy cellular activity of the immune system through interaction with CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

Cannabinoid type-2 (CB2) receptors are found abundantly in cells across the body, including cells in the immune system, and are thought (in part) to be responsible for managing healthy cellular activity. Alkylamides are considered “cannabinomimetics” (say that ten times fast), which means they possess structural and functional similarity to endocannabinoids such as anandamide and 2-AG, though alkylamides interact preferentially with CB2 receptors. 

Why we’re including echinacea in our Dynamic Immune Soft Gels

Our Dynamic Immune Soft Gels utilize an organic CO2 extract of Echinacea purpurea roots standardized to a minimum of 23% total alkylamides. With an extraction ratio of 100-143 kg of organic echinacea root to 1 kg of supercritical extract, each soft gel contains the equivalent of 300-429 mg of root with at least 0.7 mg alkylamides. 

Lastly, our Dynamic Immune Soft Gels combine echinacea with the power of elderberry and a trio of vitamins A, D, and C  - meaning that our proprietary formula offers well-rounded, holistic support for a healthy immune system with hemp CBD for overall wellness.† Ready to give your immune system the support it deserves? Try Dynamic Immune Soft Gels today!