To my delight, Echinacea (or Purple Coneflower) is beginning to bloom in profusion in the Gardens on the west side of our Home. In this case, the variety depicted is Echinacea Purpurea, which is a Tallgrass Prairie Plant. We have at least 1 more variety in our Flower Beds: Echinacea Pallida. Some day, I hope she will be growing here in the Wild.
Her bloom is like a "Hello from an Old Friend". I just absolutely love this plant. We go way back. I probably was 1st aware of her in the mid 90s, which is not really all that far back.
When I 1st came to know her, I just loved her bloom. About 1996, we 3 C's had begun to use Echinacea medicinally, in teas and tinctures to build our immune systems during cold season. And it worked.
Echinacea was and is known to Plains Indians as a plant with strong medicine, strong spirit. By the 90s, she had been discovered widely by the West as a plant which strengthens the immune system. Considerable research (particularly in Germany) had been conducted which showed what many already knew from their own experiments. By the late 90s, she was the leading selling herbal medicine in the U.S. and in Canada.
Any entry about Echinacea by me would probably be lengthy, but I promise not to do this tonight. She was a plant that presented a huge wake up call to me. I became aware of the damage of "wild crafting" of Echinacea, began to research the issue, and began to speak out (and facilitate other voices between Native and non-Native peoples too). I have to say that my actions made a difference. I spoke out on behalf of a Plant and those actions made a difference in her protection and in community awareness.
I feel like I heard "her voice". I am grateful that I was in a place that I could speak out for my Old Friend.
She was a gift in my life. And I gave back something in return.