Echinacea In The Flint Hills

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Echinacea In The Flint Hills

Post  Shep on Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:35 pm

Echinacea grows wild all over the pastures of the flint hills area of Kansas. Known by several other names including "purple coneflower" and "snakeroot," it is well known as an immune system booster. Before the advent of penicillin, echinacea was the most well known herbal anti-biotic used in the Midwest. With the increasing problems of drug resistant bacteria and MRSA infections, many people are researching the history and value of echinacea. Over a century ago over one million dollars worth of echinacea root was sold from Kansas in one year - a valuable crop by any standard. With inflation, that one million dollars would translate into lots more today.

The roots (sometimes called "Black Sampson" root - because of the color and the potency) are what are most commonly used for the medicinal effects. The roots can be dug anytime now until the ground freezes. Please be sure you have permission to dig if you are planning to go onto private property. Make sure they are not roadside specimens that may have been sprayed with toxic chemicals. And be sure to tear apart the seed head into the hole where you dig out the root to insure more echinacea for future generations. And don't harvest more than a few plants in any one area.

Check your field guide carefully for identification or go with a knowledgeable forager.


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