Can Echinacea Reduce the Severity of Colds?


Echinacea is one of the best-selling herbal products in the U.S. Many people believe that Echinacea can help boost the immune system and reduce the length and severity of colds. In a recent health study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed no significant reduction in the length or the severity of cold ailments with the use of Echinacea.

This study consisted with over 700 patient between the ages of 12 and 80. This blind study had individuals taking Echinacea, a placebo or no pills at all. In the end patients taking Echinacea did report a slight improvement of about 1/2 day in the duration of the symptoms. They also reported a slight reduction in the severity of the cold symptoms.

The researchers found that these slight patient improvements did not achieve enough of a statistical difference to prove the claim that Echinacea helped in the reduction or severity of a cold.

Although the benefits of Echinacea for the common cold are in doubt, the risks seem to be low and a small increase in white blood cell production has been documented. But there are some mild side effects to consider. The most common side effect is upset stomach. Some people have allergic reactions to Echinacea.

This can cause:
• Rashes
• Worsening asthma (if you have asthma)
• Anaphylaxis (a life-threatening emergency that can cause difficulty breathing)

If you or your loved one starts to experience any of these side effects, consult your physician . If loss of consciousness or difficulty in breathing occurs, call 911immediately.

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