Growing Medicinal Herbs: Echinacea–Migg’s Urban Garden

Okay, so this is echinacea? Yes, it’s… I had not seen it before it’s Interesting. So this plant is three years old Kind of stand over there so we get an idea of how high that is. Very good. I actually had not realized what echinacea looks like either when I first planted it. The cone the center of the flower is actually really pokey and hard, so I kind of struggled with “How are you supposed to harvest it” for things like tea. But when I read into it, it looked like mainly it’s the flower petals and the stems that are dried for tea. But the most medicinal part of it is actually the root. So normally you want to leave it for at least a year and then you could actually dig up part of the root system for the medicinal uses. What kind of medicinal uses do you know of? So echinacea is a good stimulant to the immune system. So if you can feel that you are starting to get sick, you can drink echinacea, echinacea tea, or you can chew on the root or something like that and it will actually help boost your immune system to send out those “fighter cells” in a sense, to take care of the sickness. So you can actually have a cold that is less severe because it’s attacking it sooner. One thing to note– that property, you really should only be using it at the beginning of your sickness because once you are fully sick, sending out the message that you’re under attack and you need more reinforcements in your immune system actually has a bad effect if you’re already sick and your system is already flooded with that response. So how did you start growing echinacea?I I bought a package of seeds and… So you started them from seeds? Yep. Did you start them inside or outside? I started them inside. I actually started quite a few seeds. So this, I planted several different plants over here but I’m not sure… you can kind of tell this is one plant versus this over here is a different plant. There’s actually a stem from a previous year. It’s a perennial, so it will keep coming back. Have you had any difficulty planting it in … and keeping it alive in Washington? No, it’s actually done pretty well. It’s here next to the house, but I also have one in the flower garden that I put in last year and then I have one in the very backyard… (That’s not near the house?) That’s not near the house. And it seems to be doing fine too. Strangely enough, the one that I planted this year in a different location, it’s closer to the raspberries, something kept eating the leaves and that’s really strange because none of the other echinacea plants have seemed to be impacted by a bug eating it. So it was kind of strange that that location was tasty enough that all of the leaves disappeared. So have you dried the leaves? I have. You can actually see when I read that it was the flower petals and the leaves that were dried for tea and the middle of the plant wasn’t really used, I decided why cut off the whole plant to harvest? So you can actually see here I have already removed the petals to dry and then I clipped some of the younger leaves to dry as well even with no petals the bumblebees have still come over and enjoyed eating off of this pod. So it leaves it for the bees and it takes what I need, the petals when they’re young.

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