Nature's Oasis - Med Park Mall - Grand Forks, ND
Common names: black sampson, purple coneflower, comb flower, narrow-leafed purple coneflower
The settlers did not acclimate themselves with this plant or any native prairie plants at first. In fact, Echinacea is the only plant that was popularized as a medicine by early folk practicioners. But it took a while before it was readily available.
H.C.F. Meyer, a patent medicine salesman from Pawnee City, Nebraska, learned about the usefulness of the Purple Coneflower in 1871 most likely learning of its healing qualities from Indians or early settlers. In the description on the bottle of his newly patented medicine, Meyer makes many bold claims about the effectiveness of Echinacea including, "it will not fail in Gangrene, in fever it is a specific; tyrhoid can be adverted in two to three days; also in Malaria, Malignant, Remittent and Mountain fever it is a specific." "Has been tested in over fifty cases of mad dog bites in human and in every case it prevented hydrophobia."
Echinacea use by European settlers continued into the early part of the 20th century until the advent of penicillin and antibiotics. With the rise of these new treatments and the growth of the pharmaceutical industry, Echinacea was forgotten about, for the most, part in the United States. However, it continued to be popular in Germany. Many studies have been done in Germany regarding Echinacea's effects on the immune system. It should be noted though, that most of these studies were on E. purpurea. The plant was studied primarily for its effects on colds, flu and immune function. To find out more about Echinacea's health enhancing effects and holistic uses I would strongly recommend Joe Pizzorno N.D.'s book, Total Wellness.
Many people of European descent also enjoy Purple Coneflower as a garden plant. It is attractive, hardy, and can grow in sub-par soil with little moisture. Not to mention that it is a beautiful plant! To find out more about planting Purple Coneflower check out the RECONCILIATION STORY on this site.
**I would like to thank the folks at Nature's Oasis in Grand Forks, ND for providing the products displayed in the photo at the top of this page. Nature's Oasis provides a wide-array of natural medicine, food, and beauty supplies. They can be found on South Columbia Rd. across from the hospital.