What is an Echinacea Tincture?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

An echinacea tincture is a liquid supplement that many people take in order to boost their immune systems. Some people take this during cold and flu season or while traveling. Others take it only when they are suffering from a cold, from influenza, or from another illness that taxes their immune systems. Herbalists assert that an echinacea tincture helps to boost one's level white blood cells, the type of blood cells that help to fight off infection. Echinacea also has anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which can help a person suffering from a cold, flu, or virus to feel better and get well.

An echinacea tincture.
An echinacea tincture.

In most cases, an echinacea tincture is packaged in a bottle that is sealed with a dropper. The tincture may be added to a glass of water or applied under the tongue. The number of drops that are taken depends on the potency of the tincture. In most cases, however, an echinacea tincture should be taken two to three times per day while symptoms persist. Some people also use an echinacea tincture as part of a sore throat gargle.

A sore throat gargle can contain echinacea tincture.
A sore throat gargle can contain echinacea tincture.

Those who use an echinacea tincture to fight off colds and the flu often find that the tincture is the most effective when taken as soon as symptoms begin. Some people even begin to take an echinacea tincture after coming into contact with someone who has a cold or flu or when a member of their household begins to show symptoms. Those who rely on echinacea as part of their health and wellness plan usually keep a tincture on hand in their medicine cabinets.

Most kinds of echinacea tincture have a shelf life of well over two years. Some remain viable for as long as six years. Those that are made with alcohol last the longest. Those made without alcohol usually have a shorter shelf life.

Some herbalists believe that it is best to take an echinacea tincture only when needed. This is because some believe that long-term use of echinacea makes the herb ineffective. Before using an echinacea tincture or any other type of alternative medicine or supplemental medicine, be sure to consult with a medical professional first. While herbal remedies have been found to be very effective in a number of applications, they are not always strong enough to battle aggressive viruses or to protect those with compromised immune systems.

Many people take an echinacea tincture during cold and flu season.
Many people take an echinacea tincture during cold and flu season.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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