III.  Chemical Composition

        Chemical analysis of Echinacea shows it to be a rich blend of many different compounds that are thought to be responsible for its useful medical properties.  Chemically speaking, Echinacea can be broken down into seven major groups: polysaccharides, flavonoids, caffeic acid derivatives, essential oils, polyacetylenes, alkylamides, and miscellaneous chemicals.  Healthy Ideas claims that polysaccharides have immunostimulatory and anti-inflammatory properties.  Inulin, a polysaccharide, composes 5.9% of Echinacea angustifolio (http://www.healthyideas.com/healing/oncall/more/more/echin.html).  Echinacein, an alkylamide, has antiseptic and insecticidal properties; it causes a slight tingling sensation when place on the tongue and is toxic to houseflies.  Echinacoside is a caffeic acid derivative unique to Echinacea which has an antibiotic effect (http://www.ginseng.ca/echinacea_02006.htm).



 
 

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