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Medicine Lakex

Eastern purple coneflower

1986). The Delaware used an infusion of coneflower root for gonorrhea and found it to be highly effective. The purple coneflower was the only native prairie Echinacea purpurea (L.)
plant popularized as a medicine by folk practitioners and doctors. It was used extensively as a folk remedy (Kindscher 1992). Purple coneflower root was used Plant Symbol = ECPU by early settlers as an aid in nearly every kind of sickness. If a cow or a horse did not eat well, people administered Echinacea in its feed. Contributed By: USDA NRCS National Plant Data Echinacea is widely used as an herbal remedy today. A purple coneflower product containing the juice of the fresh aerial parts of Echinacea purpurea was found to make mouse cells 50-80 percent resistant to influenza, herpes, and vesicular somatitis viruses. This product was available in Germany in 1978 (Wacker and Hilbig 1978). Perhaps the most important finding so far is the discovery of immuno-stimulatory properties in Echinacea purpurea and E. angustifolia (Wagner and Proksch 1985, Wagner et al. 1985). Stimulation of the immune system appears to be strongly influenced by dose level. Recent pharmacological studies indicate that a 10-mg/kg daily dose of the polysaccharide over a ten-day period is effective as an immuno-stimulant. Increases in the daily dosage beyond this level, however, resulted in "markedly decreased pharmacological activity" (Wagner and Proksch 1985, Wagner et al. 1985). Other research has shown that the purple coneflower produces an anti-inflammatory effect and has therapeutic value in urology, gynecology, internal medicine, and dermatology (Wagner and Proksch 1985). Ornamental: The purple coneflower is often grown simply for its ornamental value, especially for its From TAMU-BWG Digital Library - Vascular Plant Images showy flowers. The best possibility for obtaining a new cultivar is in the hybrids between Echinacea purpurea and E. angustifolia var. angustifolia, whose Alternative Names
progeny are compact, rounded, and bushy plants echinacea, snakeroot, Kansas snakeroot, narrow- about two feet in diameter (McGregor 1968). leaved purple coneflower, scurvy root, Indian head, comb flower, black susans, and hedge hog Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant's Ethnobotanic: Purple coneflower (Echinacea current status, such as, state noxious status and purpurea) was and still is a widely used medicinal wetland indicator values. plant of the Plains Indians. It was used as a painkiller and for a variety of ailments, including toothache, Description
coughs, colds, sore throats, and snake bite (Kindscher General: Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). Echinacea 1992). The Choctaw use purple coneflower as a purpurea is a perennial herb 1.5-6 dm (0.5-2 ft) tall, cough medicine and gastro-intestinal aid (Moerman
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with a woody rhizome or tough caudex. The plant tending of the slow-growing seedlings (Kindscher has one to several rough-hairy stems, mostly 1992). Harvest roots when plants are dormant, when unbranched. Basal and lower cauline leaf blades are leaves begin to turn brown. Wash roots and remove ovate to ovate-lanceolate with serrate edges, up to 2 most for use. Then carefully divide the crown by dm long and 1.5 dm wide, and slightly heart-shaped hand to make one to five "plantlets." Replant the at the base. Cauline leaves are similar but become divisions as soon as possible. It is important that they smaller as they extend up the stem. The flowers are don't dry out, so if replanting is delayed a couple of in heads like sunflowers with the disk up to 3.5 cm hours, dip the plants briefly in water and keep them across. The drooping ray florets have ligules 3-8 cm in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, shady place until you long, and are reddish-purple, lavender, or rarely pink. are ready to replant them. When replanting, ensure The disk florets are 4.5-5.5 mm long, and are situated that the remaining fine roots are well spread out in among stiff bracts. Flowers bloom from June to the planting hole and the soil is pressed firmly around August. Pollen grains are yellow. Fruits are small, the plant. These plantlets can be grown in flats in the dark, 4-angled achenes. greenhouse during the winter to re-establish their root systems, then replanted in the field the following spring for another round of production. The purple coneflower grows in rocky prairie sites in open, wooded regions. Echinacea purpurea extends Seed Propagation
eastward through the Great Plains bioregion from • Echinacea purpurea seed is easy to germinate. northeast Texas, Missouri, and Michigan. For The following information is provided by Richo current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site. • The seed can be spring-planted without cold, or cold stratification, to germinate. • Propagation is easily done in flats, which are Native Echinacea species are dwindling in the wild sown with approximately ¼ ounce of seed per from loss of habitat and over-harvesting. E. flat, evenly sprinkled on the surface and covered purpurea is not as threatened as E. angustifolia. In with about ¼ inch of potting soil. the wild, E. purpurea grows sporadically along • The flats are left outdoors through the winter and waterways, with a few scattered individuals. Plant watered if necessary. densities are too low for efficient harvest for • A light screen over the flats will diminish the commercial purposes. E. purpurea is the most severity of heavy rain and snow, and will also widely adaptable species for cultivation. It is cold and heat hardy, easy to grow, and boasts high yields. • Spring germination can be greatly enhanced by Bioactive constituents of E. purpurea compare bringing the flat of cold-conditioned seed into favorably with E. angustifolia, although there are the greenhouse, whereupon rapid germination proportional differences. E. angustifolia has more of may be expected. the alkylamides, while E. purpurea has more of the • Once the second set of true leaves appears, the equally immune enhancing caffeic acid derivatives. seedlings are put into pots or are spaced at They are both effective medicines. A combination of approximately two inch centers in another deep both probably affords the most broad-spectrum flat. Seedlings must be carefully weeded and immune-enhancing effect. Historically, E. purpurea was rarely utilized by pharmaceutical companies. • In late spring or early summer, the hardy seedlings, now with a four-to-six inch root It takes three to four years for roots to reach system, may be transplanted into the field or harvestable size (Foster 1991). Yields for cultivated, garden one or two feet apart. dried roots of three-year-old Echinacea purpurea • Regular spacing with one foot between the plants grown at Trout Lake, Washington, were 131 kg/ha and two feet between the rows will result in (1,200 lbs/acre) (Foster 1991). According to Richo approximately 21, 800 plants per acre. A Cech (1995), a mature two-year old E. purpurea generous two-foot spacing with three feet plant yields 2.25 pounds of fresh flowering aerial between the rows will result in approximately portions and 0.5 pounds of fresh root per plant. 7,500 plants per acre. Propagation from Cuttings
Timely watering during dry periods greatly Purple coneflower can be propagated by division of increases the size of this plant. A sparing side the crowns. This technique results in stronger plants dressing of organic compost, usually in the mid- initially and eliminates the tedious nurturing and spring, will assist this sometimes slow-growing herbaceous perennial in outranking competitive Cultivars, Improved and Selected Materials (and
area of origin)
ECPU is widely available through most nurseries and An ounce of well-cleaned E. purpurea seed contains seed companies. Contact your local Natural approximately 6,000 seeds. A pound contains around Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil 96,000 seeds. Given a normal spacing of one foot Conservation Service) office for more information. between the plants and two feet between the rows, an Look in the phone book under "United States acre would contain 21,800 plants. Given a 68% Government." The Natural Resources Conservation germination rate, a pound of good seed could produce Service will be listed under the subheading three acres of plants. This same acre, dormant "Department of Agriculture." harvested for the roots at the end of the second year of growth, would produce (at 1/2 lb. per root) 10,900 Cultivars: King, Sombrero, Alba, Bright Star lbs of fresh root. Leuchste, Crimson Star, Magnus, Ovation, Springbrook's Crimson Star, Talent, Thompson and Harvesting and Processing the Seed
Morgan Hybrids, White Flower Farm Strain, White • Seed can be harvested during the fall of the Lustre, and White Swan. second year. Harvest the seed in autumn when seeds are ripe, before the fall rains set in. Seed References
should be from the largest and most vital plants. Cech, R.A. 1995. Echinacea Native American tonic • Stop watering when the seeds begin to mature – roots. A Horizon Herbs Publication, Williams, excessive watering at this stage is not needed and it may damage the seed crop. • Snip the cone-heads off and put them in buckets. Foster, S. 1991. Echinacea – nature's immune If the seed is still a little green, dry the cone- enhancer. Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont. heads in the sun. • Separate the seed from the chaffy debris. It is Gilmore, M. 1977. Uses of the plants by the Indians important to break up the cone-heads without of the Missouri River region. University of Nebraska damaging the seed. Run the seed through a Press, Lincoln, Nebraska. hammer mill or compost chopper at low RPM through a one-inch screen. Then pass the seed Hart, J.A. 1976. Montana: Native plants and early and chaff through a ¼ inch stationary screen. peoples. Montana Historical Society, Helena, Shake the remaining seed and chaff through a screen that is too small for the seed to pass. What you have left is the seed with only the Hartmann, H. T., D. E. Kester, & F. T. Davies, Jr. chaff that is the same size as the seed. 1990. Plant propagation principles and practices. • Lay out a flannel sheet and pour a cupful of the Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. 647 seed/chaff along the edge. Lift the top edge of the sheet and roll the seed to the other end where your partner is waiting to carefully funnel the Hutchens, A.R. 1991. Indian herbalogy of North seed into a bowl. America. Shambhala, Boston and London. pp. 113- • Make sure the seed is thoroughly dry. Store in plastic bags in a cool, dry, and dark place. Plastic bags allow the seed to respire, while glass Isaacson, R. T. 1993. Anderson horticultural does not. Seed thus stored remains viable for library's source list of plants and seeds. Anderson about three years. Horticultural Library, University of Minnesota Libraries. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. 261 pp. Management
Herbivores, such as insects and deer, are not a Kinscher, K. 1992. Medicinal wild plants of the problem with Echinacea. Gophers and moles can be prairie. An ethnobotanical guide. University Press a problem as they eat the roots. Goldfinches love the of Kansas. Pp. 84-94. Echinacea seed crop and can clear out all the seed in Martin, A.C., H. S. Zim, & A.L. Nelson 1951. American wildlife and plants. A guide to wildlife food habits. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, New York. 500 pp. McGregor, R.L. T.M. Barkley, R.E. Brooks, & E.K. For more information about this and other plants, please contact Schofield (eds.) 1991. Flora of the Great Plains. your local NRCS field office or Conservation District, and visit the PLANTS Web site Materials University Press of Kansas. 1402 pp. Program Web > McGregor, R.L. 1968. The taxonomy of the genus The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits Echinacea (Compositae). University of Kansas discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of Science Bulletin 48(4):113-142. race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities Michigan State University Extension 1996. Home who require alternative means for communication of program horticulture: Echinacea purpurea. Version: 000327. information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Moerman, D.E. 1986. Medicinal plants of Native Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call America. Research Reports in Ethnobotany, 202-720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity Contribution 2. Technical Reports, Number 19, provider and employer. University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Pp. 156-158. Texas A&M University 1999. TAMU-BWG digital library - vascular plant images. Version: 000327.
y?q=Echinacea+purpurea>. Bioinformatics Working
Group, College Station, Texas.
Voaden, D.J. & M. Jacobson 1972. Tumor inhibitors
3. Identification and synthesis of an oncolytic
hydrocarbon from American coneflower roots
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 15(6):619-623.
Wagner, H. & A. Proksch 1985. Immunostimulatory
drugs of fungi and higher plants
. IN: (H. Wagner et
al. Eds.) Economic and medicinal plant research.
Vol. 1. Academic Press, New York, New York.
Wagner, H., A. Proksche, I. Riess-Mauere, A.
Vollmar, S. Odenthal, H. Stuppner, K. Jurcie, M. Le
Turdu, & J.N. Fang 1985. Immunstimulierend
wirkende polysaccharide (heteroglykane) aus
hoheren pflanzen.
Prepared By
Michelle Stevens
Formerly USDA, NRCS, National Plant Data Center
Species Coordinator
M. Kat Anderson
USDA, NRCS, National Plant Data Center
c/o Plant Science Department, University of
California, Davis, California
Edited 05dec00 jsp; 13may03 ahv; 05jun06 jsp


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