~250 seeds/g. 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.
A wonderful garden perennial: late summer blooms attract butterflies and bees and make good cutflowers; dew collects in the spiral mandala coneheads.
Culture: Start indoors at 70–75°, germinates in 15–20 days. Grow on at 60–65°. Set out 18–24" apart. Zones 3–10.
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.
About medicinal herbs: Archeological evidence dates the medicinal use of herbs back 60,000 years to the Neandertals. 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.
Herb culture: To substitute fresh herbs for dried in cooking, use triple the dried quantity called for in a recipe.
Drying herbs at home is not difficult. Whole leaves retain their flavor at least a year.
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, and these become available in August or September.
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 and goldenseal are available as plants, and shipped with Trees in the spring.