Echinacea to the Rescue? Not Quite

The dried root is only minimally effective at combatting the common cold

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Echinacea has been used as a natural cold remedy for years, but a recent study suggests the dried root isn't very effective at warding off illness.

The University of Wisconsin study analyzed four separate groups of 719 patients coming down with colds, two groups of which were given Echinacea (10.2 grams during the first 24 hours and 5.1 grams during the next four days.) One group was not given any pills and the other was given a placebo.

"This dose regimen of the echinacea formulation did not have a large effect on the course of the common cold, compared with either blinded placebo or no pills," according to the study authors.

Minor benefit trends were seen, however, amounting to an average half-day reduction in the duration of a weeklong cold, equaling an approximate 10 percent reduction in overall severity.

The story reaffirms findings from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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Review Date: 
December 21, 2010
Last Updated:
December 21, 2010