Perennial to Zone 3. Wonderful late summer blooms attract butterflies and bees and make good cutflowers; dew collects in the spiral mandala coneheads.
Possibly the best-known of the medicinal herbs, widely used as an immune-system stimulant. Species contain slightly differing constituents, but all are antibacterial and antiviral. At least 14 native North American nations used Echinacea for similar purposes: sore throat, toothache, infection, wounds, snake bite and skin disorders.
Joanna Linden likes to tincture flowers and leaves in August and use the same alcohol to tincture seeds and third-year roots in October.
Culture: Start indoors at 70–75°, germinates in 15–20 days. Grow on at 60–65°. Set out 18–24" apart.
See Herb Chart for uses and cultural information.
About medicinal herbs: Archeological evidence dates the medicinal use of herbs back 60,000 years to the Neanderthals. 85% of the world’s population employ herbs as medicines, and 40% of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. contain plant-derived materials. Fewer than 10% of higher plant species have been investigated for their medicinal components. Interest in traditional herbal remedies continues to grow.
Statements about medicinal use of plants have not been evaluated by the FDA, and should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any ailment. Before using or ingesting any medicinal plant, consult a healthcare practitioner familiar with botanical medicine.
Takinagawa Burdock and Resina Calendula, as well as oats, mammoth red clover and alfalfa in the Farm Seed section, also have medicinal uses. Medicinal herbs such as black cohosh, licorice, and many more are available as plants, and shipped in the spring with orders from our Trees division.
Culture: Some herbs are customarily grown from divisions because they cannot come true from seed, such as scented thymes and flavored mints. Some require fall sowing of fresh seed, such as sweet cicely and angelica.
Using herbs: Drying herbs at home is not difficult. Whole leaves retain their flavor at least a year. To substitute fresh herbs for dried in cooking, use triple the dried quantity called for in a recipe.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.