Choosing the best echinacea liquid depends on the quality of ingredients as well as your personal preferences. Echinacea liquid is commonly often sold as a water- or alcohol-based liquid or as a throat spray. Echinacea also can be made into herbal tea. Sometimes it is mixed with other ingredients to improve its taste or to incorporate other therapeutic benefits.
Native Americans are believed to have used echinacea to treat a variety of ailments since at least the 1600s. It was commonly used throughout 18th and 19th centuries and then was replaced by the use of antibiotics. Echinacea remains popular among herbalists who use it to bolster the immune system and reduce cold and flu symptoms, sinus infections and ear infections, among other uses. Some studies point to a lack scientific support for these claims, however.
The best echinacea liquid will blend easily with hot or cold drinks. It usually is too strong to drink by itself. Different portions of the plant provide different benefits, so look for liquid echinacea that combines both the root and the leaves of the plant. This will help ensure you get the maximum benefits offered by echinacea.
Generally, it is best to choose an Echinacea liquid made with organic or all-natural ingredients. This helps ensure that the echinacea is not tainted by pesticides or other additives. When no additives are present, you are more likely to get the benefits of a purer and more concentrated form of echinacea. Types of additives can include artificial coloring, preservatives, salt, sugar, starch or gluten.
Sometimes echinacea is flavored with orange extract or honey to enhance its taste. Honey often is mixed in with echinacea tea because it can have a soothing effect on the throat. Echinacea tea can be bought at specialty stores or grocery stores. Some of the teas have other ingredients or flavors mixed in, or you can add them yourself.
Echinacea liquid sometimes is blended with goldenseal root. If you plan to take liquid echinacea frequently, it is best to buy a product without goldenseal added to it. Goldenseal is also used to treat cold symptoms, but its use should be limited. In some people, goldenseal can cause increased blood pressure, for example.
Always be sure to follow all package directions. If you still are unsure about how to use it after reading the instructions, consult a reputable herbalist or physician. Although echinacea is not believed to be toxic, even at high doses, it can cause stomach upset, nausea or diarrhea if you are sensitive to it. Also be aware that the overuse of echinacea might make your body immune to its healing effects.