Echinacea is one of the best general remedies for helping the body rid itself of microbial infections. In concoction with other “guiding” herbs it may be used for any infection or inflammation anywhere in the body. (For example, in combination with Cornsilk and Uva Urs, it will effectivly stop cystitis and UTT’s.) It is often effective against both bacterial and viral attacks, and may be used in conditions such as boils, septicemia and similar infections. The tincture decoction may be used as a mouthwash in the treatment of pyorrhea and gingivitis. It may be used as an external lotion to help septic sores and cuts. It is especially useful for infections of the upper respiratory tract such as laryngitis, tonsillitis and for catarrhal conditions of the nose and sinus. In general, it may be used widely and safely. (Practical Herbalism, page 150)
Three of my favorite ways to use echinacea are as a tincture, a salve and as a tea. When taking it internally it is best to only use the herb for about a week at a time otherwise your body will become accustomed to its stimulation. My girls and I take it in tea and tincture form at the first hint of a cold or sore throat. That is when echinacea is most effective, once your cold has gone on for a few days it is rendered less effective. We use our salve on scrapes, cuts, bug bite and rashes. Here are some links to recipes and places to buy remedies containing echinacea.
Healing Garden Salve
Health food stores are full of tinctures, salves and teas that you can buy. I find it much more cost effective and fun to make your own. I hope this gives you a few idea on how to get started using this amazing herb!