Coneflower is a lesser known herb, even though it’s an excellent immune invigorator, furthermore it’s suitable for the preventive complementary treatment of the common cold, middle-ear infection, tonsillitis and respiratory infections. Topically it can be used in the case of difficultly healing wounds and inflammatory skin ailments.
Coneflower belongs to the family of aster-type plants, it is a perennial plant that grows as tall as one metre and its cultivation is hardly demanding.
Its name, which in Latin is Echinacea, refers to the spherical dry part found in the centre of its blossom and it originates from the Greek word echitos, which means porcupine. Its blossom is a bit reminiscent of daisy and moon-flower.
Originally it came from North-America. The Indians fondly used it for healing wounds and for the treatment of insect bites. If we would like to cultivate it or just wish to adorn our garden with it, then sunny, limy soil with easy water drainage is the most suitable for it. However it’s good news, that it even tolerates frost. It decorates our garden splendidly with its blossoms from June to September.
It propagates from seeds, it multiplies by stem separation, but it also scatters its own seeds. Let’s rip off the faded sprouts, that way it will blossom better, and if the thick bush is separated into several parts it will develop better.
We can dry it at home and prepare tea or even an alcohol extract named tincture, but it is used industrially as well, lotions, pills are made of its useful parts.
If we plant it this year and we cultivate it for its roots then its brown-black roots take three years to reach about 1cm diameter in size, to be suitable for usage. We harvest it when there are only seed-heads on the blossom, in late autumn. We cut as much of it off so some still remains on the blossom as well, and we can plant those back later. We slice the root pieces into about 2 cm portions. After we have washed them well, we dry the water off of them with a clean cloth, and let them dry in a breezy, arid not too sunny place.