Echinacea Purpurea is an herb that is native to North America. Both the roots and the above-ground parts of the plant have been found to contain substances that stimulate our immune system and help fight off infections. Studies have shown that the active substances in Echinacea helps your body circulate infection-fighting antibodies, which helps to treat: Colds and flus Skin infections such as acne and boils Urinary tract infections Sinusitis Ear infections In particular, studies have shown that taking echinacea while suffering from a cold or flu can help decrease the duration of the symptoms by up to two days compared to other treatments. For most people, Echinacea does not cause any major side effects. However, individuals that have an existing allergy to plants such as ragweed, marigolds, chrysanthemums, or daisies may also experience allergic reactions to Echinacea (such as skin rashes). A more common side effect of Echinacea use is minor gastrointestinal problems, as well as nausea or dizziness. If you notice any of these symptoms or are unsure if you should use Echinacea, it is recommended that you consult your doctor. Echinacea is not recommended if you are pregnant or lactating. Since Echinacea boosts the immune system, it is not recommended if you are currently taking immunosuppressants. Immunosuppressants are often used to treat cancer or suppress the immune system following an organ transplant (so that the new organ is not rejected by the body).