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By Witchipedia, Herbs

Echinacea: Folklore, Propagation, Correspondences & Magick

Updated on:

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Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)

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Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Echinacea (Echinacea spp) is a native of North America and can be found in wild prairies and open woodlands. It also adapts well to the garden. There are nine species, three of which, E. purpureaE. pallida, and E. agustofolia, have medicinal properties

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The flower of E. augostofolia has a bristly disk surrounded by drooping pink rays. The leaves are lance-shaped and narrow. This plant grows to about 20 inches tall.

E. pallida is taller and similar in appearance.

E. purpurea has broader leaves and petals of a deeper purplish-pink. The spines of the bristly disk are tipped with orange.

Echinacea is a perennial that reseeds readily and blooms late into autumn.

Other Names Purple coneflower (E. purpurea), pale purple coneflower(E. pallida), Narrow-leaf purple coneflower(E. augustofolia), Kansas ni–erhead, Sampson root, American coneflower, Black Sampson, Black Susan, Comb flower, Hedgehog, Indian Head, Kansas snakeroot, Red sunflower, Rock-up-hat, Scurvy root, Snakeroot

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Echinacea, also known as the purple coneflower, holds a rich history of Native American medicinal use for treating various ailments, dating back centuries.

Propagation of Echinacea involves sowing seeds in well-drained soil, and its resilience to harsh conditions makes it a popular addition to gardens.

To harness the full potential of Echinacea, harvest the root in the fall and store it properly to preserve its medicinal properties.

Echinacea possesses potent magical attributes, believed to enhance protection, boost spirituality, and aid in psychic abilities, making it a valuable tool in the practice of magick.

History and Folklore

The name Echinacea comes from the Greek echinos, which describes the nature of a hedgehog or sea urchin, in reference to the bristly scales of the dried seed head.

This is a North American native and was used extensively by the Native American populations for all manner of ailments. The Plains Nations used it more than any other herb.

Folklore/SymbolismDescriptionCultural/Historical Context
Healing PlantBelieved to possess healing propertiesUsed by Native American tribes for medicinal purposes
Strength and ProtectionSymbolizes strength, resilience, and protectionAssociated with qualities of endurance and vitality
Immune SupportRepresents boosting the immune systemRecognized for its immune-enhancing properties
PurificationSymbolizes purification and cleansingUsed in rituals and ceremonies for energetic clearing
Table 1: Echinacea Folklore and Symbolism

Propagation

E. purpurea is the easiest to grow and the most commonly used.

Echinacea is being stripped from its wild populations and responsible herbalists should grow their own or make sure your source uses sustainable practices. Echinacea is showing up more and more in garden centers as planting for pollinators becomes more fashionable and it looks great in the flower bed.

Natural rainfall is usually sufficient for its needs and it likes a nice mulch in the winter, but it usually doesn’t need much in the way of care. It will return year after year and if you don’t deadhead it, it will feed the finches and other small birds through the winter and what seeds are left will sprout new plants in the spring.

Starting echinacea from seed can be tricky as they need cold stratification and young seedlings are easily overwhelmed by weeds. If you plant them in a clean bed in the fall, you’ll be fine. Otherwise, refrigerate them for a few weeks then start them in pots.

Echinacea attracts bees and butterflies and small birds enjoy the seeds as winter snacks.

Harvesting & Storage

Harvest the tops in the third year, and the roots in the fourth year.

Thoroughly wash and dry the roots. Lay roots and tops out in the sun to dry.

Magical Attributes

Carrying Echinacea will provide inner strength during trying times. It can also be grown around the house or brought into a house and placed in a vase to draw prosperity into the home and protect the family from suffering from poverty.

Echinacea is an appropriate flower for offerings, especially to place spirits and river God(dess)es.

Including Echinacea in any spell or charm will increase its effectiveness.

Correspondences

Planet: Mars

Astrological Sign: Scorpio

Tarot Card: Temperance

Household Use

The long-lasting cut flowers are beautiful in an arrangement.

Healing Attributes

Echinacea is a wonderful all-around healing tonic and has been used as a cure for almost everything. It increases your T-cell count and stimulates your immune system. It is safe to use indefinitely but loses potency if you use it too long, so it’s best to only use it during flu season or when you’re not feeling well and take a break the rest of the time.

Use/PurposeDescriptionHealing/Magickal Significance
Immune SupportEnhances the immune system and supports overall healthBoosts the body’s ability to fight off infections
Cold and Flu ReliefEases symptoms of colds, flu, and respiratory infectionsSoothes inflammation and promotes faster recovery
ProtectionCreates a protective barrier against negative energiesShields against negativity and psychic attacks
Vitality and EnergyIncreases vitality, stamina, and physical energyEnhances stamina and rejuvenates the body and spirit
Magickal PotencyAmplifies the power of spells and ritualsIncreases the effectiveness of magickal intentions
Table 2: Echinacea Healing and Magickal Uses

Two weeks on and two weeks off seems to be the most common recommendation. It can be alternated with astragalus.

The entire plant is useful, but most of the power is in the root. To make a tincture, use the root or uproot the entire plant, chop it up fine, and place it in a wide-mouthed jar. Cover it with 80+ proof alcohol and seal it. Store it in a cool place for several weeks, giving it a shake every few days.

Alternatively, you could make a tea out of the leaves. Or just chew them.

People with asthma or autoimmune dysfunction including AIDS and Lupus should use Echinacea with caution. No studies have documented negative effects, but the action of the active constituents of Echinacea could theoretically complicate autoimmune problems.

Those with allergies to other members of the daisy family, ex. ragweed should use Echinacea with caution.

Anyone taking immune-suppressing drugs should avoid echinacea as their actions contradict one another.

Culinary Use

Echinacea makes a pleasant tea.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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