Echinacea angustifolia DC. is an herbaceous perennial and a member of the Asteraceae family. Commonly called narrow leaf purple coneflower, it has a natural range in North America that includes most of the mid-western states east of the Rocky Mountains. E. angustifolia grows at a rate of six to eight inches a year to a mature height of twelve to twenty-eight inches. The leaves are lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, and the flowers are cone-shaped disks with purple, pale pink, or rarely white spreading ray flowers. The plant has one or more stems that are mostly unbranched, and flowers bloom from June to July. The taproot of cultivated E. angustifolia is harvested three-to-four years from seed. It is the root that is believed to contain most of the plant’s medicinal value, although the herb is also used.
E. angustifolia has a long tradition of use among the native people of North America. It continues to be the most widely used herbal remedy in native cultures. In modern cultures of North America and Europe, E. angustifolia is primarily used in medicines believed to stimulate the immune system. Of the three Echinacea species used for medicinal purposes (E. purpurea, E. angustifolia, and E. pallida), E. angustifolia is regarded as the most chemically active possessing anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Traditional/folk uses include a blood purifier, fevers, acne, and to treat infections and sores.