Echinacea Harvest & Extract

Thursday, December 10, 2020



We finally got our first good freeze which was my signal to get out and dig up my Echinacea roots (E.angustifolia or commonly known as purple coneflower). Some sources say to wait 3 years to harvest roots and others say only 2. I opted for 2 year roots since there didn't seem to be an overwhelming consensus that waiting longer provided a real advantage. 

Leaves and flowers can be harvested in the summer when flowers are in full bloom. Using those aerial parts fresh is recommended (constituents become less active when dried).

I prefer using dry material most of the time but also, I chose the root because I wanted to enjoy the beautiful flowers in my small yard throughout the summer! 

Thanks to my sweet hubby I didn't break a sweat for this harvest. He went out and pulled the roots up, trimmed away the woody portions, then washed and chopped them. How spoiled is that?! I did swipe one of the thin roots off the ball to taste and got that lovely tingling sensation on my tongue that indicates potency. Then they went off to the drying rack below where in just 3 days they were nice and ready to use. 

I selected a basic herbal extract for these roots. Anyone can do this by just following a few simple instructions. 

Fill a sterilized glass jar about half way up with dried echinacea. Add enough menstrum to cover by at least a couple inches. All plant material should stay below the surface of the menstrum during the extraction process. Cover the top with a square of natural waxed paper and seal with a lid. Shake the jar to ensure all the material is thoroughly mixed. 

Always remember to label the jar with the name of the plant material, the type of menstrum used (I chose vodka) and at what proof (I used 80). You can add the ratio of material to menstrum also if you would like. 

Store in a cool, dark place for a 6 week maceration, shaking every day or two. If you notice the plant material has soaked up all the menstrum then top it off, reseal and continue. 

When it's time to finish processing, line a strainer with cheese cloth and decant (strain) out the liquid from the plant material into a sterilized glass jar. Make sure and squeeze out all the liquid! Cover the jar and let it settle overnight in a cool, dark place. This will cause any sediment to fall to the bottom of the jar. Now transfer the extract into another sterilized dark-colored glass bottle. That is it... all ready to use! 

Echinacea actions are noted as: Alterative, immune stimulant, immunomodulant, analgesic, antibacterial, antiviral and sialagogue. 

Dosage is: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in a small amount of water, juice or tea every few hours. Excellent in boosting white blood cells and immune activity. Use to ward off colds and flues!!

Finally, there is no way I could do this post without sharing the lovely Rosemary Gladstar's video on how she makes an echinacea extract. Enjoy!!

Tip: When using dried herbs the alcohol of choice is typically 80-100 proof vodka, brandy, tequila or rum. 

Please note that echinacea is an at-risk plant in the wild, so be sure to purchase organically cultivated or grow your own. 


Herbal Academy. (n.d.) Echinacea monograph. Retrieved from: