Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Echinacea purpurea

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Echinacea purpurea


echinacea = from Greek echinos for 'hedgehog'; purpurea = 'purple'


Traditional name

Black Sampson
Purple Coneflower

Used parts

Tincture of fresh root.


Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Asteridae / Synandrae; Asterales; Compositae / Asteraceae - Composites / Daisy or Sunflower Family


Original proving

Description of the substance

The 2.nd foto is taken from Wikipedia ( 6/11), the author kindly released it to the public domain (License: see here).


A perennial herb native to the open woods and glades of central United States, this plant was the most widely used medicinal plant of the Central Plains for a broad spectrum of conditions. The Indians referred to this plant as the Purple Coneflower. At the turn of the century, eclectic medical doctors used a number of preparations made from Echinacea. The leaf and root were considered mildly antibacterial, antiviral, and were used for wound healing.

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Genus: Echinacea

Species: Purpurea

Common Names: Purple Coneflower

Lifespan: perennial

Natural Habitat: prairies

Bloom Time: June-October

Bloom Color: pinkish-purple or white

Bloom Size: 2-4 inches (= 2,54 cm.)

Height: 2-5 feet (= 0,30480 mt.)

Growth Habit: standard

Sunlight Requirements: full sun

Moisture Requirements: moderately (seasonally) dry

Soil pH Requirements: no data

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Gardening Difficulty Level: very easy

Potential Problems: The droopy flower petals are not a sign of stress, but instead are the sign of natural healthy plant.

Method of Propagation: seeds

Propagation Techniques: barely cover

Cultivation: no data

Historical Interest: no data

Attracts butterflies. Extremely drought tolerant. This must be the most popular native perennial in commerce. Growers in Germany have developed a pure white cultivar called "White Swan" with horizontal rather than drooping petals. I grow this as well as the natural pinkish-purple variety.

Herbaceous perennial.  Originally native to a wide band stretching from Michigan south to Louisiana, then west to Texas and Oklahoma, but currently uncommon in the wild.  Widely cultivated.  Our strain was derived from a rare wild collection and has been successfully and profitably cultivated for years here in the Williams Valley of Southern Oregon.  It has not been intentionally modified or hybridized in any way from the original source, and therefore contains the rich spectrum of active chemicals found in the original wild plant.   Medical activity as per E. angustifolia.  On a plant-protection note, please consider that growing and using E. purpurea also takes the strain off wild populations of E. angustifolia.  Cultivation:   Sow seed  in the early spring in flats outdoors or in the greenhouse, and transplant seedlings out to the garden or field in mid-spring (middle of May in our area).  Starting earlier, and transplanting twice into progressively bigger containers will result in a much better rooted transplant, which will probably flower in the first year.  It is fairly easy to seed this plant directly in the garden or field.  Sow the seed shallowly in the early to mid-spring.  Keep moist.  Once the plants are up, you must stay on top of the weeds, and thin to 1 foot spacing after the second set of leaves has formed.  E. purpurea likes full sun, plenty of water, and rich, limey soil.   This is the species best suited to varied growing conditions, whether coastal or mountain, east or west.  It is easy to grow, and produces on the average 1/2 pound of fresh root by the dormant period following the second year of growth.  Plant 1 foot apart.  Flowers 3 to 4 feet tall.  

For more information, see Richo's publication "Echinacea: Native American Tonic Roots."

Named Echinacea by Linnaeus, and Rudbeckia, after Rudbeck, father and son, who were his predecessors at Upsala.

Purple coneflower is a showy, clump-forming herbaceous perennial that dies to the ground in winter and sprouts back in spring. Established clumps can be up to 3' in diameter and just as tall. The dark green leaves are coarse and sandpapery, usually lance-shaped, and 3"-8" long. The daisy-like flower heads, up to 3" across, are very attractive with rose-purple rays and large, cone-shaped purple-brown centers.

Echinacea produces large, daisy-like, pink flowers with darker centers. The foliage is not very attractive so grow  purple coneflower behind lower plants. The plant grows in any moist garden soil in a sunny location and the flower may be used as a cut flower. The plant reaches a height of 3 to 5 feet and are set 2 to 3 feet apart.


Native to North America, from Ohio to Iowa, and south to Louisiana and Georgia, where it was a part of the original prairie community.

Several cultivars are available to the gardener, including some with white ray flowers. In some areas, Japanese beetles can be a problem; otherwise diseases and pests are nonexistent.

Light: Does best in full sun, but will tolerate partial sun.

Moisture: Drought tolerant.

Hardiness: To USDA Zone 3.

Propagation: By seeds or division of roots.