Recipes using Echinacea

Echinacea Throat Spray for Sore Throats

Cooling, Refreshing & Healing for Infected Throats

  • 1/4 cup of echinacea tincture
  • 1/8 cup of vegetable glycerin or honey
  • 1/8 cup of water
  • A drop or two of peppermint essential oil

Mix the echinacea tincture with the glycerin and water. Add the peppermint essential oil drop by drop until at the right flavor for your taste.  Pour into a spritzer bottle. Label and date.  Spray directly into the mouth and back towards the back of the throat.  Cooling, refreshing and healing.

Whole Plant Echinacea Tincture

If you only make one tincture for winter, this should be it

In the late spring, gather fresh Echinacea leaves, pack them loosely in a wide mouth quart canning jar and cover with 80 proof (40%) alcohol such as brandy, vodka or gin.  Place in a warm place on the kitchen shelf and shake daily.  When the buds begin to ripen on the echinacea plants, gather several young buds and add them to the same jar with the Echinacea leaves.  Later in the season as the flowers mature, but before they are past their prime, gather several and add to your tincture jar.  Remember, continue to shake daily or at the very least, every few days to agitate or move the energy around in the jar (i.e. you don’t want the herbs to pack down at the bottom).  If the jar is getting overly full, you may need to move the herbs and alcohol to a half-gallon wide mouth jar.  Adjust the amount of alcohol so it is always approximately two to three inches above the herbs.

Now its fall and the plants are starting to die back. The energy is returning to the roots. On a late fall afternoon, dig up one of your echinacea roots. It should be two to three years old for it to be mature enough for medicine but not too old or woody. Clean well; this may require scrubbing, peeling and breaking roots a part to clean between the smaller roots. It’s a process! When thoroughly clean, chop into small pieces and add to the tincture bottle. Adjust alcohol again being sure all plant material is covered by one to two inches of liquid.
Some people like to put the whole batch in the blender at this time and mash together. It does seem to give a stronger tincture more quickly, but I prefer the slow ‘brewed’ method, allowing herbs and alcohol to mature slowly. And besides, the herbs look so beautiful in the jar macerating gently together!

Let the Whole Plant Tincture sit for an additional 3-4 weeks. Strain, and rebottle.  With a quart or more of Echinacea tincture you’ll have enough to get through a long winter and even have some to share with friends and family.

Dosage; for acute situations, i.e. to ward off an infection, cold or flu, take ½ teaspoon every hour. Increase dose if necessary and decrease as you return to wellness.   Please note: It’s not recommended to take high dosages of Echinacea for any length of time not because the plant is toxic but high dosages of Echinacea used long term use is generally not necessary and can even be counter productive.  High dosages are only used to mobilize the immune system to fight off the initial stages of infection. Decrease dose within 24 hours or sooner.  It is always better when taking Echinacea long term for a chronic infection, to take it for two weeks, rest for one to two weeks, and then continue use again.

Echinacea Tincture the ‘Regular Way’

If you don’t have a garden or the time to make whole plant extract, then you can make a simple Echinacea tincture that will still be very effective; though perhaps not quite as effective as the whole plant tincture simply because different parts of the plants have similar but different properties.

  • Fresh or dried echinacea root
  • Place herb in a wide mouth-canning jar, cover with 80% alcohol of choice (brandy, gin, vodka). Be sure the alcohol is completing covering the herbs by one to two inches.  Cover with a tight fitting lid and place on the kitchen or bathroom counter where it won’t get forgotten. Shake daily.  
  • Let sit for 3-4 weeks, strain and rebottle for use. Label.

For acute situations; ¼ – ½ teaspoon every hour or as often as needed
For chronic inflammation and infection; ½ teaspoon 3 times daily for two weeks, discontinue for two weeks (a cycle of rest) and repeat the cycle if necessary.

Please note, because of severe over harvesting of Echinacea from the wilds and ongoing poaching of it from our state and national parks, avoid all wild harvested varieties unless you know your source well. Because of the huge demand, Echinacea is poached mercilessly from its wild habitats.  I usually suggest Echinacea purpurea because it’s easily grown.

 Written, with love, by Rosemary Gladstar for her Online Students
September, 2013