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Physician’s Review Affirms Safe, Effective Echinacea Use

  [ 34 votes ]   [ 1 Comment ]
By Source: Council for Responsible Nutrition, CRN New • www.ProHealth.com • September 1, 1999


A physician’s review of Echinacea clinical studies contains good news for the treatment of colds. The review reaffirms conclusions from previous peer-reviewed research – Echinacea is safe and can work in the early treatment of acute upper respiratory infections, such as colds.

Echinacea is a perennial herb from the composite or aster family that contains flowers such as daisies and sunflowers. It grows wild throughout the central plains of the United States and was used by Native Americans. It has gained increasing popularity in Europe as a treatment for respiratory and urinary tract infections. Extracts from the plant’s leaves, flowers, or roots are used in preparing commercial products.

The review, published in the August issue of The Journal of Family Practice, examined the evidence from 13 clinical trials. In each trial, patients were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or Echinacea. The studies were double-blinded, so neither patients nor physicians knew the assigned substance.

Nine of the 13 clinical trials examined the use of Echinacea in treating respiratory infections and eight reported positive results. Typically, patients began treatment with the first signs of infection, and treatment continued for eight days. Compared with placebo groups, the groups taking Echinacea reported fewer “full blown” colds, milder symptoms if a cold developed, or colds of shorter duration. In the minds of most consumers, this probably would be viewed as “prevention.” A lower dose of Echinacea was used in the one study that showed no beneficial effect, which might account for the negative findings.

The other four studies were trials of chronic use in the absence of symptoms and all reported some benefit from Echinacea. In these studies, the participants took a placebo or Echinacea for a longer period, typically two to three months. While all four studies reported positive results, they were not all statistically significant.

Additional research – with a larger number of participants and more objective measurements for outcome – should further clarify the value of Echinacea in preventing respiratory infections. Based on the current research, the physician authors concluded, “the evidence suggests Echinacea taken early in the course of an illness may be safe and effective in reducing the severity and duration of the common cold.”

Source: Council for Responsible Nutrition, CRN News, September 1999. This article also published by Health Resource in the CFIDS & FM Health Resource Email Bulletin on September 16, 1999.



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echinacea
Posted by: neenyteeny
Sep 25, 2010
Echinacea is by far one of the only things that will zap the BEGINNING of an infection right out of me. I have learned through many years of suffering bronchitis, that the best way to prevent bronchitis is to know the warning signs, which are....POST NASAL drip. No lie. In my case, my infections were originating from the sinuses. Within a very short period of time, less then a day, sometimes within a couple of hours, that infection will work it's way to my respiratory system if I do not take care of it immediately. And the best way for that is to pop one or two echinacea right at the start. And the symptoms are usually gone right away. Then if I remember, because I'm feeling better right away, I'll take another one or two later on in the day. And I will swear on a stack of bibles that it prevents months of misery and money spent and lost due to missing work. I have been taking this herb off and on for several years now. The key to it is to catch the infection RIGHT AT THE START of symptoms. Otherwise if the infection has been in your system awhile and you take it, echinacea will mask the symptoms throughout the 8 wk period, you'll feel great, but the minute the herb starts wearing off, in about 8 wks, the symptoms may come back a lot worse than you would think. Trust me on that. Once you've gone off the herb for a few weeks, it will work again when you need it. I even took it for other infections, not just flu and cold related. From what I've read on echinacea, it was used at one time with chemotherapy, and it was used for infections before antibiotics were invented. What's great about echinacea is that it fights all infections, over and over, not like antibiotics that are more specific and they stop working time after time and they have to keep coming up with new antibiotics. All echinacea does is give a boost to your immune system, temporarily, ginseng has been known to do this also. And it's NATURAL. I believe these plants on our planet are here for a very important reason as long as they are not chemically altered by man in any way, shape or form.
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