Echinacea is good for fighting infections, especially upper respiratory infections such as the common cold, according to WebMD. People may take echinacea to treat or prevent genital herpes, vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections or the flu.
Echinacea may be good for treating blood infections, typhoid, syphilis or malaria, notes WebMD. Some people take echinacea to treat streptococcus infections, tonsillitis or gum disease. It may also be used for rattlesnake bites, ADHD, dizziness or chronic fatigue syndrome. People with acid indigestion, dizziness or pain may benefit from taking echinacea.
Echinacea may be applied topically for bee stings, boils, abscesses or skin wounds, states WebMD. People with psoriasis, eczema, burns or UV-radiation skin damage may choose to apply echinacea. It may also be used to treat hemorrhoids.
Studies suggest that echinacea activates chemicals in the body that reduce inflammation, as of 2015, notes WebMD. Research also suggests that echinacea boosts the immune system, but there is currently no proven data on its affect on the human immune system. Echinacea may directly attack some types of fungi such as yeast.
Echinacea appears safe when used in moderation, but research on the long-term side effects is still ongoing, according to WebMD. Some people who have taken echinacea have experienced temporary side effects, including stomach pain, nausea, fever and diarrhea. Other potential side effects include dizziness, headache, insomnia and sore throat.