Renovating Your Mind Brings You The Lowdown On Echinacea In Prevention And Treatment Of Colds


Gorgeous Coneflower

The purple coneflower is a beautiful flowering plant that is from the sunflower family.


Medicine Man

Native American tribes noticed that elks would seek out this plant when they were sick. Different tribes throughout the U.S. used the purple coneflower for coughs, sore throats, headaches and also as a pain-killer.


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Of the more than nine different types of coneflower found in the wild, medicinal properties were usually focused on three species. They are Echinacea augustifolia, Echinacea pallida and Echinacea purpurea.


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The standardized dose is 300 mg powdered extract (3.5% Echincoside) in a capsule formulation. An Echincoside could come from any of the three previously mentioned species of coneflower. The most popular is the E. purpurea species. It was used in many of the clinical studies. With any type of herb, supplement or medication the lesser the amount the lower the risk for problems. That means the smallest dose over the shortest duration of time is usually the safest way to go based on your healthcare professional’s advice.

Echinacea is also available as a dried root powder (for teas), tincture (alcohol-based), and liquid preparations. They also use combinations or singular preparations of all three species (E. augustifolia, E. pallida, E. purpurea) to make all these different products.

Research has shown mixed results. Many studies compared the effectiveness of different types of Echinacea for 2-3 months. They were specifically measuring the duration, severity and prevention of a cold while taking the herb versus a placebo. Results from more than a dozen studies showed no effect in cold prevention. Some research showed a decrease in the duration and severity of the cold. Many of the trials that were funded by the manufacturers of Echinacea products showed positive results. Studies that were done by unbiased researchers usually showed no significantly positive effects but also no harmful results in adults.

There are populations of the planet that should not try this preparation for colds. They are anyone younger than 12 years of age, pregnant women, lactating women, anyone with any type of immune disorder, blood disorders, TB and anyone allergic to the daisy or sunflower family of plants. If you have an allergy to ragweed, you may get a similar allergic response with Echinacea. The herb should not be used for more than 8 weeks straight.


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The European Medicines Agency states that E. purpurea should not be used for more than 10 days for a cold. Reasoning being that with time it could in some patients dampen the response of your immune system. So with chronic use, it could make the body less susceptible to fight infections.

Side effects are mainly gastrointestinal (stomach upset, nausea, vomiting) and rash.

Renovating Your Mind thinks that Echinacea could help treat a cold. Before antibiotics become available in the United States many physicians recommended Echinacea to their patients. It was said to kick-start the immune system. Heed the warnings listed above of persons who should not be treated with Echinacea. Most positive study results were controversially biased. The side effects of the herb are usually very minimal. Limit the duration of the therapy to 7-10 days so as not to suppress your immunity. Make sure you get advice from your health professional team before deciding to pursue this herb.

We will be discussing the effectiveness of Vitamin C and zinc for the prevention and treatment of colds in future articles.

Categories: Health, Medications

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