How to grow echinacea is a good thing to know. Herb Echinacea is a beautiful purple flower that is also known as coneflower because of the round cone in the center of each blossom. This plant is not only useful; it's beautiful and makes an excellent cutting flower.
For medicinal purposes, you use both the roots and the flower tops.
Wait until your plants are three years old before harvesting.
To harvest and prepare the flowers: Cut your herb Echinacea at the point where the first healthy leaves are growing and then either tie the plants in bundles and hang upside down or lay the plants on a screen.
Make certain they are out of direct sunlight.
Make sure your plants have plenty of air circulating about them.
The plants have finished drying when the leaves crumble when you touch them.
Store in glass jars in a cool, dry place. Make an infusion of the flowers.
To harvest and prepare the roots of the herb Echinacea:
cut off only a portion of the root of each plant, leaving plenty for the plant to grow on.
Cut the roots into one-inch pieces. Wash them well and pat them dry and either hang the pieces or lay them out on screens in a well-ventilated area that isn't directly in the sun. It could take up to several weeks for the roots to dry, depending on their size.
Make a decoction of the roots by simmering them in water for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink.
The herb Echinacea strengthens the immune system and also works as an antiseptic that fights infections.
It has also been known to work as an aphrodisiac.
Added topically, the herb Echinacea can ease the discomfort of eczema, psoriasis, hemorrhoids and insect bites. It may also help protect your skin from sunburn.
Please Note: Because Echinacea has such a powerful effect on the immune system, you should not take Echinacea if you have autoimmune disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Also avoid taking Echinacea if you have leukemia, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis or AIDS.
Sow your seeds in the spring when your soil has reached between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the seeds have germinated, cover them with about 1/8 inch of compost or soil.
When the plants are about two inches tall, thin the plants until they are 18-24 inches apart.
The herb Echinacea will grow in either partial shade or the full sun and prefer well-drained soil.