Echinacea 'can prevent a cold'

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Yvonne
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Echinacea 'can prevent a cold'

Postby Yvonne » Sun 23 Dec 2007 12:18

Taking the herbal remedy echinacea can more than halve the risk of catching a common cold, US researchers say

They found it decreased the odds of developing a cold by 58% and the duration of colds by a day-and-a-half.

The results in The Lancet Infectious Diseases conflict with other studies that show no beneficial effect.

Experts believe echinacea, a collection of nine related plant species indigenous to North America, may work by boosting the body's immune system.

'Marked effects'

Researchers, led by Dr Craig Coleman from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, combined the results of 14 different studies on Echinacea's anti-cold properties.

In one of the 14 studies the researchers reviewed, echinacea was taken alongside vitamin C. This combination reduced cold incidence by 86%.

When echinacea was used alone it reduced cold incidence by 65%.

Even when patients were directly inoculated with a rhinovirus - the most common cold-causing virus - echinacea reduced cold incidence by 35%.

The researchers' report said: "With over 200 viruses capable of causing the common cold, echinacea could have modest effect against rhinovirus but marked effects against other viruses."

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They found that more than 800 products containing echinacea were available, and that differing parts of the plant - flower, stem and root - were used in different products.

They said more work was needed to check the safety of these different formulations.

Professor Ron Cutler, of the University of East London, said: "The true benefits, and more importantly, how the agents work remains unclear and further better-controlled actual clinical trials still have to be carried out.

Echinacea may reduce the duration of illness and decreases the severity of cough, headache, and nasal congestion. "

He said people with impaired immune function might benefit from taking echinacea during the winter months to prevent colds and flu, but that healthy people did not require long-term preventative use.

"There has also been the suggestion in the past that continuous treatment with echinacea is not recommended - the benefits may only be effective for one or two weeks and after taking the agent for this time people should stop and give the immune system a week without the agent."

Professor Ronald Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre at the University of Cardiff, said the work was "a significant step in our battle against the common cold".

"Harnessing the power of our own immune system to fight common infections with herbal medicines such as echinacea is now given more validity with this interesting scientific evaluation of past clinical trials," he added

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6231190.stm
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LymeEnigma
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Re: Echinacea 'can prevent a cold'

Postby LymeEnigma » Sun 23 Dec 2007 20:13

I've read such conflicting information on this ... and I have used it many times, myself, in the past.

I just want to add a note that those allergic to ragweed (hay fever) should not take echineaca.

Greatcod
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Joined: Sat 3 Nov 2007 19:59

Re: Echinacea 'can prevent a cold'

Postby Greatcod » Sun 23 Dec 2007 20:22

Good stuff, great study...

cave76
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Re: Echinacea 'can prevent a cold'

Postby cave76 » Wed 26 Dec 2007 4:04

I believe the full title of that 'study' is:

Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis.

I've posted the differences between a meta-analysis and other, more valid studies at;

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=483

Yvonne, I'm not trying to rain on your parade :) but to point out the flaws in a meta-analysis.

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Yvonne
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Re: Echinacea 'can prevent a cold'

Postby Yvonne » Wed 26 Dec 2007 7:53

It is good Cave,I agree with you :)

When you looked at the link I post then you see above on the right site studies who's claiming
the opposite as:

Echinacea 'does not treat colds'

Echinacea 'does not cure colds'
Listen to all,
plucking a feather from every passing goose,
but follow no one absolutely

Claudia
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Re: Echinacea 'can prevent a cold'

Postby Claudia » Wed 26 Dec 2007 15:14

I love this board!

cave76
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Joined: Sun 12 Aug 2007 2:27

Re: Echinacea 'can prevent a cold'

Postby cave76 » Wed 26 Dec 2007 16:08

Yeah, I love it too!

While looking up info on this herb it led, of course, to the German E Commission works, which I've always sort of held up as the Gold Standard for herbal studies.

I didn't save the pages, but there were some sites that critiqued the E Commission's studies. I just skimmed them at the time but hope to go back and see just what and who critiqued them (in a negative sense).


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