Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench (Asteraceae/Compositae)
Brauneria purpurea (L.) Britt., Echinacea intermedia Lindl., E. purpurea (L.)
Moench f., E. purpurea (L.) Moench var. arkansana Steyerm., E. speciosa Paxt.,
Rudbeckia purpurea L., R. hispida Hoffm., R. serotina Sweet
Coneflower, purple coneflower herb, purpurfarbener Igelkopf, purpurfarbene Kegelblume,
purpurfarbener Sonnenhut, red sunflower, roter Sonnenhut
A hardy, herbaceous perennial. Stems erect, stout, branched, hirsute or glabrous,
60–180 cm high; basal leaves ovate to ovate-lanceolate, acute, coarsely
or sharply serrate, petioles up to 25 cm long, blades to 20 cm long and 15cm
wide, blade abruptly narrowing to base, often cordate, decurrent on petiole,
3–5 veined; cauline leaves petiolate below, sessile above, 7–20
cm long, 1.5–8cm broad, coarsely serrate to entire, rough to the touch
on both surfaces; phyllaries linear-lanceolate, attenuate, entire, pubescent
on outer surface, ciliate, passing into the chaff; heads 1.5–3cm long
and 5–10mm broad, purplish; pales 9– 13mm long, awn half as long
as body; disc corollas 4.5–5.5mm long, lobes 1mm long; achene 4–4.5
mm long, pappus a low crown of equal teeth; pollen grains yellow, 19–21µm
in diameter; haploid chromosome number n= 11
Plant material used
fresh or dried aerial parts harvested in full bloom
For essential oil (0.08–0.32%); chicoric acid (1.2–3.1%). Quantitative
analysis of echinacoside, chicoric acid, isobutylamides, and other constituents
by high-performance liquid chromatography. Quantitative analysis of alkamides
and caffeic acid derivatives by thin-layer chromatography and highperformance
Major chemical constituents
A number of chemical entities have been identified, including alkamides, polyalkenes,
polyalkynes, caffeic acid derivatives, and polysaccharides. The volatile oil
contains, among other compounds, borneol, bornyl acetate, pentadeca-8-(Z)-en-2-one,
germacrene D, caryophyllene, and caryophyllene epoxide. Isobutylamides of C11–C16
straight-chain fatty acids with olefinic or acetylenic bonds (or both) are found
in the aerial parts of Herba Echinaceae Purpureae, with the isomeric dodeca-(2E,4E,8Z,10E/Z)-tetraenoic
acid isobutylamides. The caffeic acid ester derivative chicoric acid is the
major active compound of this class found in the aerial parts of Echinacea purpurea,
with a concentration range of 1.2–3.1%. Chicoric acid methyl ester and
other derivatives are also present. Polysaccharide constituents from Herba Echinaceae
Purpureae are of two types: a heteroxylan of average relative molecular mass
about 35 000 (e.g. PS-I), and an arabinorhamnogalactan of average relative molecular
mass about 45000 (e.g. PS-II). Other constituents include trace amounts of pyrrolizidine
alkaloids (tussilagine (0.006%) and isotussilagine). At these concentrations,
the alkaloids are considered to be non-toxic. Furthermore, because these alkaloids
lack the 1,2-unsaturated necine ring of alkaloids such as senecionine (structure
in box) from Senecio species, they are considered to be non-hepatotoxic
Powdered aerial part, pressed juice and galenic preparations thereof for internal
and external use
Uses supported by clinical data
Herba Echinaceae Purpureae is 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. External uses include promotion of wound
healing and treatment of inflammatory skin conditions.
Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well
Uses described in traditional medicine
Proven pharmacological activity
Other medical uses claimed for Herba Echinaceae Purpureae include treatment
of yeast infections, side-effects of radiation therapy, rheumatoid arthritis,
blood poisoning, and food poisoning
Immunostimulant, Wound healing, Antiviral
Immunostimulant, Wound healing
Allergy to the plant.
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.
No information available.
Internal or external use should not exceed a period of 8 successive weeks.
Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
Mutagenicity and carcinogenicity test results were negative. Doses up to a polysaccharide
concentration of 500 mg/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
the drug during pregnancy is not recommended.
There are no reliable studies on this subject. Nursing mothers should not take
the drug without consulting a physician.
Oral administration of Echinacea preparations is not recommended for small children,
except on the advice of a physician. Herba Echinaceae Purpureae may be used
for external treatment of small superficial wounds.
No information available concerning drug interactions, drug and laboratory test
interactions, or non-teratogenic effects on pregnancy.
Occasionally allergic reactions may occur owing to allergy to plants in the
Oral daily dosage of Herba Echinaceae Purpureae, 6–9ml expressed juice
for no longer than 8 successive weeks. External use of semisolid preparations
containing at least 15% pressed juice for no longer than 8 successive weeks.
Information on dosages for children is not available.