Echinacea angustifolia D.C. var. angustifolia (Asteraceae)
Related species often used interchangeably are its variety strigosa McGregor,
or E. pallida (Nutt.) Nutt. (Asteraceae)
Brauneria angustifolia Heller, Echinacea pallida var. angustifolia (D.C.) Cronq.
American coneflower, black sampson, cock up head, coneflower, echinacea root,
Igelkopf, Indian head, Kansas snakeroot, Kegelblume, narrow-leaved purple coneflower
root, purple coneflower, Sonnenhut, racine d’echinacea
Echinacea species are hardy, herbaceous perennials with either simple or branched
stems. The terminal single flowering heads have fertile disc florets that terminate
in spines (paleae). These are surrounded by infertile drooping or spreading
ray flowers that have 2 or 3 teeth at each end. The leaf shape varies from lanceolate
to ovate, its margin may be dentate and the leaf may be pubescent or smooth.
Roots are either single taproot or fibrous in form
Plant material used
fresh or dried roots
Essential oil (0.2–2%) and echinacoside (0.4–1.7%) in both E. angustifolia
and E. pallida roots. Quantitative analysis of echinacoside, cynarin, chicoric
acid, chlorogenic acid derivatives, and other constituents by high-performance
Major chemical constituents
A number of chemical entities have been identified and reported to be biologically
active, including a volatile oil, alkamides, polyalkenes, polyalkynes, caffeic
acid derivatives, and polysaccharides. The volatile oil contains, among other
compounds, pentadeca-(1,8-Z)- diene (44%), 1-pentadecene, ketoalkynes and ketoalkenes.
More than 20 alkamides, mostly isobutylamides of C11–C16 straight-chain
fatty acids with olefinic or acetylenic bonds, or both, are found in the roots;
the highest concentration is in E. angustifolia, followed by E. purpurea, and
the lowest is in E. pallida. The main alkamide is a mixture of isomeric dodeca-
2,4,8,10-tetraenoic acid isobutylamides. Caffeic acid ester derivatives present
include echinacoside, cynarin, and chicoric acid. Cynarin is present only in
E. angustifolia, thus distinguishing it from the closely related E. pallida.
Polysaccharide constituents are of two types: a heteroxylan of relative molecular
mass about 35 000 and an arabinorhamnogalactan of relative molecular mass about
45 000. Other constituents include trace amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids
(tussilagine (0.006%) and isotussilagine). At these concentrations, the alkaloids
are considered to be non-toxic, and since they lack the 1,2-unsaturated necine
ring of alkaloids such as senecionine from Senecio species, they are considered
to have no hepatotoxic potential
Powdered roots, and galenics and preparations thereof for internal use
Uses supported by clinical data
Preparations of Radix Echinaceae are administered orally in supportive therapy
for colds and infections of the respiratory and urinary tract. Beneficial effects
in the treatment of these infections are generally thought to be brought about
by stimulation of the immune response.
Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well
Uses described in traditional medicine
Treatment of yeast infections, side-effects of radiation therapy, rheumatoid
arthritis, and food poisoning
Allergy to plants in the Asteraceae.
Should not be used in serious conditions such as tuberculosis, leukosis, collagenosis,
multiple sclerosis, AIDS, HIV infection and autoimmune disorders. Echinacea
preparations should not be administered to people with a known allergy to any
plant of the Asteraceae. Parenteral administration is rarely indicated owing
to potential adverse side-effects (see Adverse reactions).
Internal use should not exceed a period of 8 successive weeks
Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
Mutagenicity and carcinogenicity tests were negative. Doses up to a polysaccharide
concentration of 500µg/ml caused no increase in sister chromatid exchange
or structural chromosome aberrations.
Pregnancy: teratogenic effects
There are no reliable studies on this subject. Therefore, administration of
Radix Echinaceae during pregnancy is not generally recommended.
There are no reliable studies on this subject. Therefore, nursing mothers should
not take Radix Echinaceae without consulting a physician.
Oral administration of Echinacea preparations is not recommended for children,
except on the advice of a physician.
No information was available concerning drug interactions, drug and laboratory
test interactions, and non-teratogenic effects on pregnancy.
Allergic reactions, shivering, fever, and headache.
E. angustifolia root
Unless otherwise prescribed, hot water (about 150 ml) is poured over about 0.5
teaspoon (about 1 g) of powdered plant material, allowed to steep for 10 minutes,
passed through a strainer, and taken orally three times a day between meals.
(1 : 5, 45% ethanol), 0.5–1ml three times daily.
(1 : 5, 45% ethanol), 2–5ml three times daily