Echinacea Purpurea flowers, commonly known as Purple Coneflowers, Snakeroot, are members of the Asteraceae family.
Some species are cultivated as garden flowers for their showy flower head and some, in herbal medicine.
The genus name is from the Greek word "echinos", meaning hedge hog.
Like all Asteraceae, Echinacea flowers have a cone-shaped head.
Once the flower head opens, the petals of the outer ray florets are flexed downward, thus forming a cone. Hence the name.
Medicinal Action and Uses.Echinacea is popularly believed to supports and stimulate immune system and helps provide additional protection against infections.
While the exact chemical compounds responsible for the plant's healing efficacy is unclear, its therapeutic value is well known.
The above-ground parts of the plant are used to make fresh juice, infusions (warm-water teas), and tinctures. The roots are used in either cut or powdered form for capsules, fluid extracts, teas, and tinctures.
The roots and the whole plant are considered particularly beneficial in the treatment of sores, wounds, burns etc, possessing cortisone-like and antibacterial activity. Echinacea plant was used by North American Indians as a universal application to treat the bites and stings of all types of insects.