In vitro effects of echinacea & ginseng on natural killer & antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity in healthy subjects & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or AIDS patients

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Extracts of Echinacea purpurea and Panax ginseng were evaluated for
their capacity to stimulate cellular immune function by
peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from normal
individuals and patients with either the chronic fatigue
syndrome or the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. PBMC
isolated on a Ficoll-hypaque density gradient were tested in
the presence or absence of varying concentrations of each
extract for natural killer (NK) cell activity versus K562
cells and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC)
against human herpesvirus 6 infected H9 cells. Both echinacea
and ginseng, at concentrations > or = 0.1 or 10
micrograms/kg, respectively, significantly enhanced
NK-function of all groups. Similarly, the addition of either
herb significantly increased ADCC of PBMC from all subject
groups. Thus, extracts of Echinacea purpurea and Panax
ginseng enhance cellular immune function of PBMC both from
normal individuals and patients with depressed cellular
immunity.

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