How Echinacea Is Good and Bad

Echinacea is the herb most people turn to when you want to get over a cold. But is that right?

For me, no. I have an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s Syndrome. My immune system thinks my mucus membranes are not part of me, and tries to kill them.

It’s not fun.

Echinacea makes it worse. My system is running a bit hotter and faster than most, and I don’t want anything to increase it. That’s why echinacea isn’t right for me.

But, it’s not just autoimmune diseases that echinacea makes worse.

If you take it too long, you’ll find your immune system either going too far, and cause an autoimmune problem, or collapsing in on itself. Some people have taken echinacea on a daily basis to prevent colds. That’s not how it works. If you over-stimulate the immune system, eventually it’s not going to work. When you take echinacea without having a cold, you trick your body into thinking it does.

Echinacea may also cause anxiety and nervousness, bad taste, bronchitis, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, dry throat, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, heartburn, joint pain, kidney failure, mild drowsiness, mild nausea, mouth irritation, numb tongue, and pemphigus vulgaris. Plus, if you take it too often, your system starts to reject it.

Diabetics should use caution. Yes, it will help you over your cold, but it will also send your sugars through the roof. When we get sick, our bodies use the immune response as a trigger to dump extra sugars into our system. These come from the sugars stored in our liver and muscles. This is a natural and normal process, because the act of fighting off a cold is hard. You need to watch your sugars and not take echinacea when you don’t need it.

Heart disease? It’s OK. Heart disease medications (any of them): it’s going to interact bad with the medications. We’re talking anything from nausea to ruined digestion to muscle and nerve pain to death. The medications often either artificially stimulate or depress the immune system. You don’t want to add another artificial high on top of that.

Herbals are meant to be taken to support the body. If your body isn’t ready for it, don’t take it. If you are on medications, you’re screwing around with natural processes. Don’t take herbals without a nutritionist or herbalist and especially talk about your medications.. You court more illnesses otherwise.