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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web According to ancient Taoist philosophy, herbal teas and tonics containing ginger, echinacea and astragalus herbs and reishi mushrooms can boost immunity. NBC News, 14 May 2020 Don’t fall for myths: Vitamin C won’t ward off the virus; neither will zinc, echinacea or green tea. Patrick J. Lyons, New York Times, 17 Mar. 2020 During Sunday night’s episode, physician Sarath Malepati presented the sharks with his invention, EZC Pak, a five-day immune support pack made of echinacea, zinc and vitamin C that claims to boost the immune system and fight viruses. Eric Todisco,, 4 Nov. 2019 My other echinacea has the brown spots on stems but none of those other symptoms., 19 July 2019 Its proper name is echinacea, which is often sold in dietary supplements to ease common cold symptoms. Cindy Dampier,, 25 July 2019 Also known as echinacea purpurea, the attractive flower can be a real boon to ward off undesirable visitors. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, 24 June 2019 Recently a reader sent me pictures of his echinacea leaves with big chunks taken out of them. Sally Mccabe,, 6 June 2019 One Swiss study found that using sage with other herbs like echinacea can help relieve throat irritation. Alexandra Sifferlin, Time, 19 June 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'echinacea.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 27 Jan. 2023.

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
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