Can I Use My Flower Garden Echinacea For Medicine?

Can I Use My Flower Garden Echinacea For Medicine? | Growing Up Herbal | Ever wondered if the echinacea growing in your flower garden can be used medicinally?

I was recently asked a question about whether or not common flower garden echinacea could be used as medicine.

I’m sure you’ve seen it. You go to the local garden store to purchase some flower seeds to plant. I mean, fresh cut flowers are the best, right? You glance at the back of the seed pack to see what plants are included in the mix, and if you know anything about herbs, you’ll notice some common herb names listed. And in most premixed, cut flower variety packs, echinacea is one of those herbs.

However, is this the kind of echinacea that can be dug up and used in a tea or tincture? I mean, have you ever wondered that?

If so, today, I’m answering this question and telling you if you can use your flower garden echinacea as medicine.

So, to get right down to it… yes, yes, and yes! You can definitely use your flower garden echinacea as medicine. In fact, I’d encourage you to do so, but first, let me give you some things to think about. I mean, not all herbs are meant to be used as medicine. Some are simply meant to be pretty!

Has Your Echinacea Been Exposed To Fertilizers Or Chemicals

If you fertilize your garden plants or put anything on or around them that has chemicals… don’t use them for medicine… especially not for tinctures (they’re concentrated). Your plants absorb everything out of the ground including the chemicals you put on them to help them have big pretty blossoms. You don’t want that junk in your medicine or your body. It’s better to simply buy it in this case!

This also applies to the seeds in those tiny cut flower packages you buy. You may want to look into the company to see where they get their seeds from and if they treat them with anything before packaging them. If they do, I’d avoid using those in my herbal preparations.

Do You Need The Roots Or The Tops

The root of echinacea has the strongest medicinal properties, and it’s what I use to make my tinctures. If I want echinacea in a tea or a rinse of some sort, and I’m not really going for some serious immune boosting, then I’ll use the tops of the plant and save my root. But, if you are wanting to use it for its great immune boosting properties, go with the root. If you don’t want to dig up your pretty echinacea flower for its roots, just buy it! 

Which Type Of Echinacea Preparation Do You Need

In my opinion, echinacea is best as a tea or tincture, and you can make both of these using your fresh echinacea plant. In fact, it’s going to be better for you to use fresh over dried almost all the time, but that’s not always possible. However, if you want echinacea capsules or a honey syrup, you’re going to need to dry your plant first because the water in the plant doesn’t work with these two supplelments. That can be a tiny bit of a hassle, but if you’re up for it then go for it. 

And there you go. You can totally use your flower garden echinacea as medicine, as long as you consider a few things first to see if it’s the best choice. 

Do you grow your own echinacea in a flower garden? If so, do you use it for medicine? Share with me in the comments below!
  1. The Harvest: Perennial Flowers - Homestead Lady says:

    […] Click here to read how Growing Up Herbal answers a reader’s question about using her garden Echinacea for medicine. […]

  2. Lanna says:

    Does it have to be the purple echinacea to use it medicinally? I bought some red and yellow echinacea recently hoping to grow enough to use for our family, but didn’t realize these were hybrids, so now I’m a little nervous to use them…

    • Meagan says:

      Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve only heard about the medicinal varieties being Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea, but I recently read about one that’s native to Tennessee, where I live, and it’s supposed to be medicinal too. A lot of the hybridized versions are more for pretty flower gardens and color. I know nothing of their medicinal properties, but that’s probably something you could google. Most of the medicinal ones I’ve seen are pink-purple in color. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help, Lanna!

  3. Julie Ann Wurst says:

    Hi Meagan,
    I’m wondering if you can only use the
    Traditional purple cone for medicinal properties or if you can use all varieties. If you can is there a difference between health benefits? I will always for sure use the traditional purple cone because it’s what I’ve always used and know what the properties do for you but learning that there different kinds brought this question to mind.
    Thank you
    Julie Ann wurst

    • Meagan says:

      There are a lot of varities of echinacea, and they all have therapeutic actions in the body although those actions differ in quality and strength among the varieties. This is were researching the varitey you want to use comes into play. With that being said, I would avoid all hybridized plants. They often have an “x” in their botanical name to show they’re a hybrid. Hope that answers your question, Julie!

  4. Julie says:

    We have a horse and are treating him for Carcinoma and was told echinacea with some other herbal treatments are the best thing to boost his immune system..My question To you is which part of the Echinacea plant would you recommend (root or Flower of the Palladia or Echinacea Purpurea)..

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Well, I don’t know anything about horses and very little about using herbs with animals. With that said, the whole echinacea plant can be used as all parts contain immune supportive properties. However, the root is the strongest. If you’re using a fresh plant, I’d say you could give him the whole plant. If you’re using dried plant material, the root is pretty hard. I’m not sure if horses can chew harder materials. If so, he’d probably be fine eating the root along with the tops. If not, then the tops should work just fine. You may want to check with a holistic veterinarian, just to be on the safe side. Again, I don’t know much about herbs and animals. Best of luck though!

    • Sledgurl says:

      I have an echinacea plant, that I started from seed last summer… this summer it’s grown big and is starting to flower. It’s so beautiful. I want to utilize whatever the plant yields for medicinal properties. But, if I use the root, then my plant is ruined, and I will have to start all-over. Is there anyway I can utilize the plant to the fullest, without ruining it? Thinking, I should plant a bunch just for that purpose. Crazy thing, is I haven’t seen any plants around, hence why I planted from seeds. Only one grew though. I live in zone 8?

      • Meagan Visser says:

        You can use the tops of the echinacea for now. Every year, your plant will drop seeds, and sometimes these will grow into new plants. When you have enough plants, you can harvest the older ones for their roots, giving the younger plants space and time to continue to develop. Hope that helps!

  5. Tania says:

    Hi Meagan
    Thank you for your article. Just wondering if you know the best way to dry the plant for tea.
    God bless

  6. Monica says:

    The difference between purple coneflower purpurea is grown native in eastern part of United States. Rosemary Gladstar said this is easily grown and available,she uses this one as her immune booster. (Gladstar’s medicinal herbs, beginners guide, page 130).
    Augustifolia is native grown in the central US and Canada prairie, little more difficult to grow here in the east. It likes drier climate.

  7. Cristina says:

    Hi,thanks for this great article. Can I grind the dried flowers and add it to my body powder? Is it beneficial to the skin too?

    • Meagan Visser says:

      You can, Cristina, but you’ll want to grind them really well (echinacea flowers are tough) and sift them in some sort of fine-mesh strainer. Echinacea has antibacterial properties and can be beneficial on the skin for that reason. It’s also thought to be an analgesic herb (soothes pain) so it could be useful in that way when used topically as well.

  8. Anonymous says:


  9. Lorna Giblin says:

    Hi I just bought and echinacea plant at Home Depot. There were some dried flowers on it already and I took the seeds off. I am going to dry the flowers and take the seeds off. My question is can I use the seeds next year for medicinal purposes? I am sure that they have had chemicals on them this year to make them grow. Will starting them from seed guarantee that the chemicals are not passed on?

    • Meagan Visser says:

      I don’t think so, Lorna. From my understanding, for something to go back to organic status, it has to have a minimum of three years without any synthetic chemicals on them in order for the plant and the soil to fully cleanse itself. If I were you, I’d do some research on Google or some gardening sites to see if there’s anything you can use to speed this process up. If it were me, I’d focus on nourishing that echinacea plant with some organic fertilizers for the next few years to help it really establish itself well before I started using it in herbal preparations. Hope that helps!

  10. Delicia Ambrosino says:

    I’m a prepper in case some emergency happens. Having said that I have recently learned of the coneflower being great at numbing. I also have read that the Plains coneflower {pallida. etc} are stronger medicinally at numbing than its Eastern counterpart. What I learned was the seeds when chewed or pounded into a paste can be used for dental problems and wounds. Let’s face it, if that is true then it would be extremely useful when there aren’t any dentists or doctors around….which in today’s society may very well end up being the case. Just think hurricanes in the South for example. I would like to know what your opinion is on this. Thank you. ~D

    • Meagan Visser says:

      I’ve not studied E. pallida too much. I know that E. angustifolia (found out West) is thought to be stronger than E. purpurea (mostly in the Eastern US). I did know about the numbing part though. And yes, echinacea is great for tooth issues, not just to help with pain, but also to help with any infections.

    • Adrielle says:


      I’ve recently been working on my own emergency medicine garden and found seed for a plant called “Spilanthes,” “toothache plant,” or “buzz buttons.” It is specifically a dental numbing and pain killing medicine. It is tropical but can be grown as an annual if you have enough warm weather where you are, I think it needs about 4 months. There is a Kenyan variety which is smaller and more cold-hardy than the standard ones. I am trying both types this year. 🙂 You might look it up and give it a try since I think it will likely be much stronger than the echinacea seed recipe! I read you can dry the flowers and they still work medicinally, so I plan to try that. I’m hoping to get seed in case of frost from the more frost-intolerant plants before winter hits too.
      Echinacea may be easier to grow and care for in most climates, but since we have some peppers we protect from frost anyway I’m going to try Spilanthes in our hoophouse and try overwintering it. 🙂
      Good luck with your prepper garden plans!

      • Meagan Visser says:

        Yes, spilanthes is a great herb. I’ve not used it myself, but I know of some herbalists that LOVE it for oral infections and whatnot.

    • Barb Telford says:

      We purchased seeds for Toothache plant from Bakers Creek. Wow, does this plant numb! Flowers dried and made into tincture for any dental numbing needs, a little goes a long way! Have yet to need it for any other wounds, but check it out. Grows very well here in Western Kentucky. Bees love it, and flowers are interesting addition to our herb box.

  11. Verena says:

    Hi folks!
    I am a lnadscapearchitect (from Vienna, Austria, Europe) with focus on the plants and also in using all kinds of plants as herbs. During my deeper research through my books and the internet and the outcome on other plants like Alchemilla – I take it as Megadn already said – and thank you – because this discussion – gives me a good feeling that the decissioar ton is right: its okay to use the differnt kind of Echinnaceas the nature within the country- because as us said, some do better here then there for natural reasons – of course – thats why nature brought it out that way. I got same research results long before with Alchemilla mollis (the most gardenused variety in europe) and alchemila vulgaris, …- but the peolpe of ancient times took the herbs growing out of their backdoors – near to switzerland it was Alchemilla mollis – near to Vienna it was Alchemilla mollis – and it worked.

    As I use all oft the plants produced for the design and not as a medical herb I think that as Megan also said before I wouldn’t use the Hybrids – once they are produced for colour and so on … so we dont know if they work properly. Perhaps they do….? But with the pure variety – without the x (that means Garden-Hybrid).
    And also the thing with the fertilization is important. Dont take mineral fertiliser for your medical used plants.

    So thank you for your experience and writings, that helpped me to get shure off the question – can I use my garden Echinacea.

  12. serena says:

    Hi, do you know if it’s fine (or not) to have the echincea leaf raw? I was thinking of adding a leaf to my green smoothie but hadn’t read of it being eaten raw…

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Yes, I believe you can have the leaves raw. I’ve never read anything about that being a problem. You’ll just want to be sure to blend it really well. Echinacea leaves are quite rough, and I can imagine how uncomfortable trying to swallow a chunk of one would be!

  13. Teresa Lynn says:

    Can you use the stalks in a tincture with the rest of the plant? Seems a shame to just compost them.

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Yes, for many plants, you can use the aerial parts, which are the stalks, leaves, and flowers. If you’re looking to get a lot of scent or the properties of a plant that are associated with its volatile oils, you will use flowers only as they are highest in volatile oil. Hope that makes sense!

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