Nature’s Way Echinacea extract or the purple cone flower (Echinacea purpurea) is a plant originally from Norther America. By now, it is very well known in Europe too, due to its beneficial effect on the immune system and most particularly on the respiratory system.
The highest concentration of active ingredients is found in the root. The root contains a broad spectrum of active ingredients such as polysaccharides, alkylamides, and cichoric acid. Alkylamides are fat-soluble substances found in the root. These improve aspecific immunity by supporting the normal function of macrophages.
Polysacharides and cichoric acid are water-soluble substances that improve specific (adaptieve) immunity by supporting B-cells as well as the creation of interleukins and immunoglobulins.
The active substances of plants are well hidden inside cells. Plant cells are surrounded by tough and fibrous cellulose cell walls. This necessitates careful extraction to liberate the active ingredients from the plant cells so as they become available for the human body. A herbal medicine that will solely contain the herb (not the extract) will be far less effective.
The active ingredients from Echinacea are both lipophilic and hydrophilic. This means it is important to select an extration method that isolates and extracts both types of components from the roots.