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Purple Coneflower

Echinacea (Coneflower) Seeds | Johnny's Selected Seeds
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Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Echinacea purpurea, also called Purple Coneflower, is one of the most widely cultivated medicinal plants in the US (Ross, 2016) and Europe (Barrett, 2003). It is a tall perennial member of the Composite family indigenous to eastern and central North America. This plant is used to treat  common diseases, such as colds, flu, and upper respiratory infections (Ross, 2016). Modern analyses of the Echinacea genus have suggested it may have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties (Sharifi-Rad et al., 2018). However, studies examining the effectiveness of Echinacea purpurea in preventing or treating the common cold have had mixed results (Grimm & Müller, 1999; Ross, 2016) and the most recent systematic review failed to find any statistically significant benefit to the treatment (Karsch-Völk et al., 2014). It is generally considered non or only very slightly toxic (Sharifi-Rad et al., 2018).  

Historical Use

Given that Purple Coneflower is native to such a wide swath of North America, it should come as no surprise that the earliest knowledge of its medicinal properties was attained by Native Americans.  The Choctaw used Echinacea purpurea for treating coughs, stomach upset, and sore throats (Flannery, 1999). The Sioux used it for treating wounds and snakebite and as a cure for rabies (Ross, 2016). The Cheyenne used preparations to treat colds and skin conditions (Flannery, 1999). Early settlers to the Midwest also used Echinacea to treat saddle sores on horses (Flannery, 1999). 

More information available from the John R. Martin Rare Book Room in Hardin Library.

Latest Research

  • Influence of Abiotic and Biotic Elicitors on Organogenesis, Biomass Accumulation, and Production of Key Secondary Metabolites in Asteraceae Plants
    by Maria Petrova on April 27, 2024 at 10:00 am

    The medicinal plants of the Asteraceae family are a valuable source of bioactive secondary metabolites, including polyphenols, phenolic acids, flavonoids, acetylenes, sesquiterpene lactones, triterpenes, etc. Under stressful conditions, the plants develop these secondary substances to carry out physiological tasks in plant cells. Secondary Asteraceae metabolites that are of the greatest interest to consumers are artemisinin (an anti-malarial drug from Artemisia annua L.-sweet wormwood), steviol…

  • Efficacy of traditional herbal formulas on human immunity
    by C Cingi on June 23, 2023 at 10:00 am

    In the present study, we reviewed the efficacy of traditional herbal formulas on human immunity. A literature survey was performed in PubMed, UpToDate, Proquest Central Databases of Kırıkkale University, Google and Google Scholar databases from the internet. Search key words were “immune”, “immune system”, “herbal”, “Pelargonium Sidoides”, “Echinacea Purpurea”, “Sambucus Nigra”, “Beta Glucan”, “Vitamin C”, “Zinc”. The immune system is a natural self-defense mechanism made up of cells that assist…

  • Antiviral activity of medicinal plant-derived products against SARS-CoV-2
    by Jonatas Rafael de Oliveira on July 27, 2022 at 10:00 am

    This review presents information from several studies that have demonstrated the antiviral activity of extracts (Andrographis paniculata, Artemisia annua, Artemisia afra, Cannabis sativa, Curcuma longa, Echinacea purpurea, Olea europaea, Piper nigrum, and Punica granatum) and phytocompounds derived from medicinal plants (artemisinins, glycyrrhizin, and phenolic compounds) against SARS-CoV-2. A brief background of the plant products studied, the methodology used to evaluate the antiviral…

  • Neuroprotection of chicoric acid in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease involves gut microbiota and TLR4 signaling pathway
    by Ning Wang on February 1, 2022 at 11:00 am

    Chicoric acid (CA), a polyphenolic acid obtained from chicory and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), has been regarded as a nutraceutical to combat inflammation, viruses and obesity. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder, and the microbiota-gut-brain axis might be the potential mechanism in the pathogenesis and development of PD. The results obtained in this study demonstrated that oral pretreatments of CA significantly prevented the…

  • Increasing medicinal and phytochemical compounds of coneflower (Echinacea purpurea L.) as affected by NO(3)(-)/NH(4)(+) ratio and perlite particle size in hydroponics
    by Fatemeh Ahmadi on July 27, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Medicinal plants are considered as one of the most important sources of chemical compounds, so preparing a suitable culture media for medicinal plant growth is a critical factor. The present study is aimed to improve the caffeic acid derivatives and alkylamides percentages of Echinacea purpurea root extract in hydroponic culture media with different perlite particle size and NO(3)^(-)/NH(4)^(+) ratios. Perlite particle size in the growing media was varied as very coarse perlite (more than 2 mm),…


Barrett, B. (2003). Medicinal properties of Echinacea: a critical review. Phytomedicine, 10(1), 66-86. doi:10.1078/094471103321648692 

Flannery, M. A. (1999). From Rudbeckia to Echinacea: The Emergence of the Purple Cone Flower in Modern Therapeutics. Pharmacy in History, 41(2), 52-59. Retrieved from 

Grimm, W., & Müller, H. H. (1999). A randomized controlled trial of the effect of fluid extract of Echinacea purpurea on the incidence and severity of colds and respiratory infections. Am J Med, 106(2), 138-143. doi:10.1016/s0002-9343(98)00406-9 

Karsch-Völk, M., Barrett, B., Kiefer, D., Bauer, R., Ardjomand-Woelkart, K., & Linde, K. (2014). Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2(2), Cd000530. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000530.pub3 

Ross, S. M. (2016). Echinacea purpurea: A Proprietary Extract of Echinacea purpurea Is Shown to be Safe and Effective in the Prevention of the Common Cold. Holist Nurs Pract, 30(1), 54-57. doi:10.1097/hnp.0000000000000130 

Sharifi-Rad, M., Mnayer, D., Morais-Braga, M. F. B., Carneiro, J. N. P., Bezerra, C. F., Coutinho, H. D. M., . . . Sharifi-Rad, J. (2018). Echinacea plants as antioxidant and antibacterial agents: From traditional medicine to biotechnological applications. Phytother Res, 32(9), 1653-1663. doi:10.1002/ptr.6101