The Final Verdict on Echinacea

By , Category : General Health

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Echinacea’s biggest role is in fighting the common cold.I’ve written quite a bit about this herbal cure, particularly in my newsletter, the Vitamin Doctor. But in truth, echinacea can be awfully confusing. Some evidence says it works, other studies say no way. Some people swear by it, some find no value at all. Where do I stand on this and what should you know? Read on.

First off, we know that echinacea influences the immune system, which is what fights off viruses. Echinacea’s biggest role is in fighting the common cold. The herb helps the body’s immune system kill off foreign cells, while also boosting the activity of your “natural killer cells.” Echinacea has anti-inflammatory activity, antifungal properties, and also stimulates other immune cells that fight invaders. For these reasons, it is believed to fight off infections.

PLUS: Five unusual Chinese remedies for a cold

Yet, there is a great deal of controversy about the effectiveness of echinacea in preventing and treating the common cold. Some studies show that echinacea can reduce the severity of cold symptoms, as well as its duration—by 10% to 30%. On the other hand, studies have failed to show any effect at all.

Similarly, there are studies that show echinacea can decrease the risk of developing the common cold by 45% to 58%, when taken days or months before a cold strikes. Yet other studies fail to show any benefit from taking echinacea before the onset of a cold.

In my mind, such discrepancies in research could be due to many reasons:

• Different species of echinacea used

• Different preparation methods employed

• Different patient population studied

• Different times patients began taking echinacea

• Different research study designs

My final word on this subject is: this famous herbal cure is worth experimenting with. It just might help you withstand a cold or flu. But it shouldn’t be considered a definitive cure at this point. We continue to await better-designed studies that draw firm conclusions.

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Doctors Health Press publishes daily health articles and monthly health newsletters for a wide array of alternative and natural health topics like healing foods, homeopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, hidden cures for common illnesses, and natural self-healing. Doctors Health Press also publishes books and reports that provide timely health breakthroughs, always focusing on natural and alternative health. Topics include omega health, prostate health, natural weight loss, natural diabetes cures, heart health, stroke prevention, secret herbal cures, vision health, anti-aging, sexual... Read Full Bio »