Research: ISLAM and CARTER,

Listed in Issue 128


ISLAM and CARTER, Family Medicine Department, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555-1123, USA,, have reviewed (48 references) the use of Echinacea in upper respiratory tract infections. Abstract: The significant burden of upper respiratory tract infection in adults and children, coupled with a lack of specific treatment options, invites the use of alternative therapies. Echinacea is a herb widely used for the prevention or treatment of upper respiratory tract infection. This article examines the mechanism of action, dose, and types of Echinacea used for these purposes. The principle mode of action of Echinacea is through stimulation of the immune system. Results of Echinacea studies are difficult to interpret because of variability of experimental parameters. Types of Echinacea commonly used are Echinacea purpurea, E pallida, and E angustifolia. Both the plant's upper parts and roots are used. For oral administration, tablets, extracts, fresh pressed juice, teas, and tinctures have been used. Though studies show a beneficial effect, clear conclusions and recommendations of Echinacea use cannot be made due to a lack of standard product, variability in dose, and variability in outcome measures. Therefore, well-designed studies with consistent standardized measures are required.






Islam J, Carter R. Use of Echinacea in upper respiratory tract infection. Southern Medical Journal 98 (3): 311-318, Mar 2005.

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