Echinacea is a perennial herbaceous plant from the Asteraceae family.
It is characterized by a strong, branched root system with many veins. Each year, a larger number of above-ground upright shoots develop from the root head, branching in the upper part. The stems reach a height of 50 – 80 cm. The leaves are alternately arranged, oval-lanceolate. The stems and leaves are densely covered with sharp edges. Each branch ends with a flower head. The inflorescence consists of tubular, fertile, dark purple flowers in the middle and lingual infertile flowers – petals around the perimeter of the inflorescence. The petals are a lighter purple color and turn brown with age, giving the umbrellas a bloom. Species of this genus require a lot of light and heat.
In our conditions, well tolerated by low temperatures and even stronger frosts. Plants hibernate without damage in the open field. In terms of moisture, Echinacea has slightly higher requirements, so irrigation is recommended for successful cultivation in the summer. In areas with rainfall of 600-800 mm per year, it can be successfully grown in dry cultivation – without irrigation. Echinacea is propagated by seed, direct sowing or through the production of seedlings. In practice, seed propagation through seedlings is almost exclusively applied. Planting is done in the spring or fall. From Echinacea is used above ground part and root.
Depending on what the goal of production is, so is the harvest. When the aboveground part is produced, the harvest should be done at the stage of full development of the plants, that is, when they are in flower. In the plant, and especially in the root, most of the alkaloids are of the pyrrolizidine type, tussilagin, isotusilagin, polysaccharide, the most important of which is echinacin. The whole plant has antiseptic and antiviral effects. It is therefore used in the treatment of colds and flu infections, respiratory tract infections, sinuses, etc. Its action is based on enhancing immunity through nonspecific stimulation of the immune system.