Further in Depth Description
Echinacea may decrease the length and severity of your next cold, according to the University of Colorado Extension Service. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, echinacea contains active substances that enhance the immune system. It also relieves pain, reduces inflammation and offers hormonal, antiviral, antiseptic and antioxidant effects. Its uses include treatment of urinary tract infections, vaginal candida yeast infections, ear infections, athlete's foot, hay fever and sinusitis.
In 2003, an article in "Phytomedicine" reported that Echinacea purpurea extracts induce macrophage -- mobile white blood cell -- activation. It also activates polymorphonuclear leukocytes -- white blood cells produced by bone marrow -- and natural killer cells, making echinacea an immune booster. According to the "Herbal Materia Medica," echinacea offers antimicrobial, antibacterial and lymphatic properties, making it a choice for infections.
Goldenseal is erroneously paired with echinacea as an immune-activating herb and natural antibiotic treatment for colds, according to New York University's Langone Medical Center. Berberine, the active ingredient in goldenseal, is effective against E. coli, an intestinal bacteria and the cause of many urinary tract infections. Berberine may help prevent the bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall, according to CoxHealth Hospital. Berberine may help relieve congestion and suppress coughs in chronic respiratory diseases, according to a study published in the June 2003 issue of the journal "Planta Medica." In the animal study, berberine promoted mucous secretion, leading researchers to conclude that, with further research, it may prove to be useful as an expectorant.