Updated at: 12-10-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

My favorite part of fall is when Echinacea is ready to be harvested, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some! When the winter sicknesses start coming up, I want to be prepared with lots of it. You’ll never want to be without it once you learn its beauties and benefits.

One of the earliest “Snake Oils” was echinacea. As far back as the 1870s, a doctor claimed that it could cure almost everything, even snake bites. He was so convinced of the efficacy of this treatment for snake bites that he offered to be bitten by one in front of a couple of the time’s most notable doctors. He indicated he would then just use his Echinacea combination to treat himself. The offer was turned down by the doctors. One of the doctors studied Echinacea and discovered that it might be used to cure a wide range of infectious disorders at the time. He was, however, persistent enough.

Echinacea’s Native American name is Kansas snake-root, and European immigrants learned about the plant’s therapeutic powers from Native Americans. This may have gone too far for a handful of snake oil marketers. Let’s see what it can be used for.

How to grow Echinacea

Perennial herb Echinacea (also known as purple coneflower or coneflower), thrives in zones 3-9 and blooms in late summer. Echinacea Augustifolia, Echinacea Pallida, and Echinacea Purpurea are the most often used therapeutic varieties of Echinacea. Of the three, E. Augustifolia possesses the most potent effects.

How To Dry Echinacea Flowers And Roots - Urban Garden Gal

Growing or purchasing your own Echinacea is preferable to taking it from the wild because it is an endangered species. At United Plant Savers, you can learn more about endangered plants. Echinacea seeds must be artificially stratified unless you live in an area where the winters are regularly cold. If you live in an area that experiences frigid winters on a regular basis, you can begin planting seeds in the fall or early spring. The distance between them should be roughly 12 inches. When watered sparingly, E. Augustifolia can thrive on poor soils. With modest watering, E. Purpurea and E. Pallida prefer a well-drained soil. For the most part, nothing beats a day in the direct sunlight. A more effective medicinal plant can be grown in well-drained soil. Boggy soil will allow them to thrive, but the quality of their crops will be compromised.

Where does Echinacea grow?

There are pink to purple flower heads surrounded by a cone of seeds in the prairie wildflower known as Echinacea. North American prairies and meadows are home to E. Augustifolia. In the east, E. Purpurea and E. Pallida are more prevalent. Gardens of all kinds can be found all over the place!

How to Harvest Echinacea

Echinacea plant roots and aerial portions are used. Herbal teas are most commonly made from the aerial parts of the plant, while the plant’s most potent medicinal is found in the roots.

In the second year of growth, the plant’s aerial components can be harvested. Cutting the stem above its lowest pair of leaves is all that is required to harvest aerial portions. Lay out the stem, leaves, and flower buds to dry completely. During the growth season, this can be done. Cut back on the Echinacea when you’re doing so.

Spring or fall are the best times to dig up the roots of a plant that is 2-3 years old. Both E. Augustifolia and E. Purpurea have fibrous roots, whereas E. Augustifolia has a single taproot. Lift the roots of the Echinacea plant using a shovel or a garden fork to harvest it. I dig up the entire plant’s root system with a huge shovel. Now you can either remove the entire plant to harvest the roots, or you can harvest the roots by slicing the roots from the root ball. You can thin out your Echinacea patch by removing the entire plant. In the event that you only remove a portion of the root ball, the rest can be replanted in the ground.

How to preserve Echinacea

You can preserve your tea leaves and buds by drying them and storing them in an airtight container in a dark place.

You can either dry your roots and store them for future decoctions or create a tincture to preserve them. Echinacea tincture is a favorite of mine, so that’s where the bulk of my roots go.

Once you have your roots harvested you’ll want to shake the dirt off the roots. Next rinse them in cold water and pat them dry. I use a hose with a spray head to really get the dirt off outside, then I put them in a bucket of water to get the rest of the dirt off.

After harvesting your roots, you’ll need to remove the soil from the roots. After that, pat them dry with a clean towel. As soon as the dirt has been cleaned off outdoors, I place them in the bucket of water and let it soak for about one hour.

Echinacea roots can be dried by laying out the cut pieces on a screen in a well-ventilated place, away from direct sunlight, in order to preserve them. For at least two weeks, leave them out. You can store them in an airtight container, away from direct sunshine, once they’ve dried.

Harvesting and Drying Echinacea and Marshmallow - YouTube

How to save seeds from Echinacea

Seeds from your Echinacea plant can be harvested in the fall. Natural seed dispersal means that if you do not gather them, they will fall to the ground and be dispersed by the wind and animals. There’s nothing wrong with that!

Once the weather is just right, you can collect your seeds. Two-year-old plants yield the best seeds. The seeds may be ruined if you keep watering them through the end of the summer, even if they are drought-resistant. Watch the seed heads as the flowers fade in the fall; they will begin to swell. When the seeds are full, not flat, they should be harvested.

Gather your supplies when the seeds are ripe for planting. Pick up some scissors and a brown paper bag if you don’t have a container for the seeds to fall into yet. The flower’s tips can be clipped inside the bag without displacing any seeds. Using your hands, remove the seeds from the stems that have been trimmed. A cookie pan or shallow box can be used to store the seeds after you’ve removed all of them. Leave them to dry for a month or so, shaking occasionally to ensure a uniform drying process.

Remove the outer layer of dryness to uncover the seed. You can either do this by hand or with the aid of a screen. You can test a few seeds to make sure they’re entirely dry. You know they’re dry if you can pinch them and they crack. They haven’t dried entirely if they’re still mushy and don’t crack. Using a paper envelope, you can now store the seeds for a future planting season. To allow the seeds to stratify organically, you can scatter them throughout the garden.

How to buy Echinacea

Echinacea may be purchased in a matter of minutes. In the spring, your local greenhouse will have these plants in stock. Online, you can get dried roots that are ready for tinctures, as well as aerial portions that can be added to teas for flavor.

How to heal with Echinacea

Winter health teas can benefit from the addition of echinacea, which is not a culinary herb. Although echinacea has been touted as a powerful immune-boosting supplement, it should not be taken on a daily basis. Instead, Echinacea should be used towards the onset of an illness or infection, with a pause of 5-10 days before resuming use of the herb. For the most part, Echinacea is safe for people of all ages. Antibody production is boosted, white blood cells are stimulated, and lymph nodes are strengthened by this supplement. All crucial in the fight against a disease. Daily use of Echinacea may diminish the herb’s ability to work when it is most required. Echinacea can cause an allergic reaction in people who have an unusual allergy to aster plants.

Immunomodulator, anti-inflammatory, and anti-catarrhal properties are only a few of Echinacea’s many benefits. As a result, Echinacea is useful in cases of bacterial and viral illnesses. Strep throat, tonsillitis, and laryngitis are all treatable with this remedy. Gingivitis and gum disease can both be treated with echinacea mouthwash, which contains the herb. Boils, ulcers, and abscesses can all be helped by taking Echinacea. The decoction can be applied externally to treat ulcers, sore throats, and athlete’s foot, among other ailments.

Most commonly, echinacea is taken in the form of an extract or a decoction. To make a tea decoction, roots are used. When making a decoction, you simmer the roots for 10 minutes instead of brewing the leaves and blossoms. A decent beginning point is to add around a spoonful of dried roots to a pint of water.

Echinacea tincture can be added to tea, sprayed on the throat, or taken orally. It gives you a tingling sensation when you touch it. If you’re suffering from a sore throat, try using this throat spray, which has a tingling sensation.

Echinacea has been a wonderful supplement for me personally. Easy to grow and harvest; it’s well worth the effort. In particular, if you start to experience that achy sensation! Melissa & Yarrow has a wealth of information on how to use your root mixtures. Make sure you have some on hand because it’s time for winter!

How to Harvest Echinacea for Tea

Echinacea purpurea, the coneflower, is both an attractive and a medicinal plant. Plant hardiness zones 3 through 8 are suitable for this species. Summer and fall gardens are brightened by the enormous purple blossoms. The cone-shaped seed heads that grow on mature plants are appealing to birds and provide winter interest. To make herbal tea, coneflowers are an essential element. For herbal tea, the leaves and flower buds of the plant are the most typically gathered.

Coneflowers can be harvested in their second year of life. During the flowering cycle, you can pick leaves at any moment or harvest flowers as the buds open.

Cut the stem with a pair of shears that are sharp enough. For foliage harvesting, cut just above the lowest set of leaves, or cut above the topmost set of leaves if you’re just picking flower buds.


Strip the leaves from the stem after harvest. Cut off the flower buds just behind the flower head. The leftover stem should be thrown away.

Strip the leaves from the stem after harvest. Cut off the flower buds just behind the flower head. The leftover stem should be thrown away.

After harvesting, remove the leaves off the stem. Flower buds directly behind the flower head should be removed. Remove the remaining stem and discard it.

Things You Will Need

  • Shears
  • Screen
  • Container of some sort


The dried coneflower can be brewed in hot water to make a cup of tea. Making a herbal blend tea with coneflower and other herbs is also an option. Honey is a good sweetener for herbal teas because of its natural sweetness.