The Purple Coneflower is native to eastern and central North America, where it grows on prairie grassland. It has been used for centuries by Native Americans to treat various ailments, including coughs, toothache, sore throats and tonsillitis.
Echinacea has become popular in Western herbal medicine in the last 100 years. However, no active ingredients have been identified within Echinacea, and its effectiveness has not been proven. Many studies have aimed to investigate whether taking Echinacea preparations after the onset of symptoms of a cold can shorten the cold’s duration. However, a 2014 review of these studies concluded that, although it seems possible that some Echinacea products are more effective than a placebo (‘sugar pill’) for treating colds, the overall evidence for clinically relevant treatment effects is weak. Additionally, trials investigating whether Echinacea can prevent colds have not shown any statistically significant effect.