Natural medicine experts frequently recommend oral extracts of echinacea for the treatment of the common cold and for other conditions requiring immune stimulation. It is occasionally recommended for topical treatment of wounds.
Traditionally, echinacea roots and herbs were used by indigenous Americans for a wide variety of conditions, ranging from snakebites to cancers. Echinacea does not have U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) status.
Echinacea was adopted by central U.S. settlers in the 1800s. However, after the introduction of antibiotics, echinacea use fell out of favor. Echinacea's historical use as a treatment for infections has found renewed interest due to recent rises in antibiotic resistance and the limitations of available antiviral drugs.