ech·​i·​na·​cea ˌe-ki-ˈnā-sē-ə How to pronounce echinacea (audio) -sh(ē-)ə How to pronounce echinacea (audio)
: the dried rhizome, roots, or other parts of any of three purple coneflowers that are used primarily in dietary supplements and herbal remedies for the stimulating effect they are held to have on the immune system
also : any of these herbs

Examples of echinacea in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some flowers need more sunshine and bloom later in spring such as magnolias, echinacea, roses and poppies. USA TODAY, 11 Apr. 2024 Some evidence suggests that taking echinacea or zinc right at the start of a cold might shorten it. Colleen Murphy, Health, 5 Apr. 2024 In 2003, Piet Oudolf, whose subtly layered plantings of grasses and unusual shrubs give Manhattan’s High Line its shimmering magic, created a dark earth pathway that snakes through the property, with banks of thistles and echinacea Julia rising like steep heather moors on either side. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, 19 Mar. 2024 People who are allergic to ragweed and those with autoimmune diseases should be cautious about using echinacea. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 14 Mar. 2024 This is particularly true of plants (such as echinaceas) that are readily available at local nurseries. Tovah Martin, Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2024 Of course, for first-time greetings, a handshake is still acceptable and a bottle of echinacea and vitamin C won’t hurt either! Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2024 Some mocktails include immune-active botanical extracts such as echinacea and adaptogens, herbs and roots that may help the body manage stress. Amanda Musa, CNN, 1 Feb. 2024 This formula is also pumped with vitamin E and echinacea, two supplements that soothe the skin and provide topical care. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 30 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'echinacea.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from New Latin Echinacea, the purple coneflower genus, from Greek echînos "hedgehog, sea urchin" + Latin -ācea, feminine of -āceus -aceous; so named from the prickly appearance of the disk florets — more at echinus

Note: The genus name was introduced by the German botanist Conrad Moench (1744-1805) in Methodus plantas horti botanici et agri Marburgensis : a staminum situ describendi (Marburg: 1794), p. 591, as a revision of Linnaeus' Rudbeckia purpurea.

First Known Use

1823, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of echinacea was in 1823

Dictionary Entries Near echinacea

Cite this Entry

“Echinacea.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


ech·​i·​na·​cea ˌek-i-ˈnā-sē-ə, -sh(ē-)ə How to pronounce echinacea (audio)
: the dried rhizome, roots, or other part of any of three composite herbs (Echinacea angustifolia, E. pallida, and E. purpurea) that were formerly listed in the United States Pharmacopeia, that are now used primarily in dietary supplements and herbal remedies, and that are held to stimulate the immune system
also : any of these herbs see purple coneflower
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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