There is no such thing as the human body. Lately even the medical industry is beginning to face this fact. ("Oh? How old is it? What race and gender? Is it in good health? What are its habits and living conditions?") Well, in the good old days it used to be a 40-year-old American urban white male with money who might have heart trouble, but some things have changed, haven't they?

Personal experience is sneered upon by Western medicine; it's not a blind trial, don't you know – regarded the same way the religious industry resents truly decent unchurched citizens. (Mere citizens poaching upon the industry territory is what these two resentments have in common.) But precisely because there is no such thing as the human body, personal experience in healing is where to find what works for some individuals sometimes—and what therefore might work for you. In the real world, what works sometimes is all medicine of any kind will ever deliver. (There are 12 tissue types and there are positive and negative blood types in each of blood's categories. How and whether these variations in our flesh impinge upon healing is overlooked by the whole world. And there are more variables to come—another unexplored territory.)

Whew. That said, here is a history of personal experience with the glories of echinacea, the pharmaceutical the Plains Indians used most often – raw of course.

Number One Experience of the Glories of Echinacea: Cure for a virus cold or a common cold:

Dr. David G. Williams (an M.D. and alternative medicine god) years ago published a regimen developed by a South African hospital that somehow had 5,000 infants with both hospital pneumonia and measles, and not enough antibiotics to treat them all. The hospital dosed half the patients with antibiotics and half with this formula. The formula won: better survival rate, fewer side effects. If you actually follow the instructions, the regimen works. Most people don't and think they did.

Here is that protocol:

*A gram (1,000 mg) of Vitamin C an hour as tolerated (meaning you don't take it when your stomach or bowels complain).

*3 grams of echinacea 3 times a day. (That is 3,000 mg. That is usually 8 capsules 3 times a day because 380 mg is the usual capsule size. If you are lucky enough to find 500-mg capsules, it's easy: 6 capsules is 3000 mg.) Yes, 8 pills 3 times a day, and get over it: This is for healing, not maintenance. And don't forget to do it; take it, and space it an even time apart, it doesn't work in the jar.

*20 10,000 I.U. capsules of Vitamin A (oil, palmitate) once a day for 5 days. This is doing a 100-capsule bottle of 10,000 I.U. ones in the 5 days. Check to see whether you bought the 8,000 I.U. size, in which case you will be doing 25 pills a day for 5 days, a bottle and a quarter.) No, 200,000 I.U. of Vitamin A palmitate for 5 days is not an overdose. You would have to do it for more than eight months without letup to kill yourself.

Take all these as prescribed until 2 or 3 days after you feel better, or you may relapse—just like antibiotics work. Don't say I didn't tell you so: I too have stopped too soon.

This is the end of Dr. David G. Williams' published regimen.

Taking a capsule a day, or a dropperful of extract a day, of pau d'Arco with this routine is a good idea—no more than that! Pau d'Arco is a systemic cleanser that really works (you can tell by how you smell!) so going about it gradually and gently is advisable. (Upcoming article on pau d'Arco) The reason it is good with the regimen is, the regimen is stirring up a lot of 'bad stuff' intensely, and this flushes it out quickly.

Number Two Experience of the Glories of Echinacea:

Chiropractors prescribe high doses of echinacea for an extended time for carpal tunnel syndrome. Echinacea over a long time reduces nerve inflammation. So any ailment that is inflammation of the nerve would benefit from echinacea—things like tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome. Actually, echinacea is anti-inflammatory, period. (The pharmaceuticals that treat nerve inflammation are toxic to the liver, to be taken with caution and regular testing for liver numbers.) The carpal tunnel benefit and the allergy benefit are using the same dosage of echinacea as the South African Hospital Regimen and are based on personal experience, not on anything Dr. Williams has reported.

And by the way, there is a blind study about how surgery for carpal tunnel is not only ineffective but inadvisable. A small hospital thought it would put itself on the map when it discovered there had been no study to establish how effective the surgery was. They sure did put themselves on the map! Their study proved what a bad idea it was!

Number Three Experience of the Glories of Echinacea:

Allergies are an overactive immune system. People are always saying 'Don't take echinacea for more than two weeks because it could suppress the immune system.' Where the authority for this is, I don't know. But, suppose it is true: Suppressing the immune system is sometimes what you want; there are pharmaceuticals for that purpose. Inflammation is sometimes an overactive immune response too. Anyway, if you use echinacea for your carpal tunnel, you stand to lose your allergies along with your achy wrist. This applies to hay fever type allergies, and may apply to contact and food allergies as well.

If you wonder which echinacea to use—purpura or augustifolia—just buy a pound of powder of each and mix the two. Whenever you wonder 'which,' remember 'both.' That is a general principle to live by, especially if you include 'neither' in the list of choices.

Author's Bio: 

Emily supports 500 acres of elk and other animals in a sanctuary she inherited as a hunting ranch in the mountains of Idaho, supports them by finding creative solutions for situations people find themselves in. 95% of what you pay Emily, Emily pays the elk. She has a happy gift for you: the ability to deal better with your reality by not taking it too seriously, no matter how serious it is.

Email Emily at before you call her at (208) 894-4515, and read incredible original recipes and other things at