This past winter I
have taken the supplement Echinacea, 400 mgs
daily, with remarkable effect...no colds! Here are a few facts about it
is a very popular American wildflower and garden plant, the
purple coneflower. It's also one of America's most popular herbal
products, also used to prevent and treat the common cold, influenza and
infections. Echinacea is the best known and one of the most researched
Echinacea was among the most popular herbs used by Native American
Indians. At least 14 tribes used Echinacea for a coughs, colds, sore
throats, infections, toothaches, inflammations, tonsillitis, and snake
bites, among other uses. It was used by the Dakotas as a veterinary
medicine for their horses.
The most common anecdotal reports about the use of echinacea are from
people who begin taking the extract at the first sign of a cold. Often
to their surprise, they find the cold has disappeared, usually within
twenty-four hours, and sometimes after taking the extract only once.
Anecdotal evidence carries little weight in scientific circles, but
plant drug researchers have conducted over 350 scientific studies about
in 1957, showed that an extract of echinacea caused a 22%
reduction in inflammation among arthritis sufferers. That is only about
half as effective as steroids, but steroids have serious side effects.
Steroids also strongly suppress the immune system, which makes them a
poor choice for treating any condition in which infection is likely.
Echinacea, on the other hand, is non-toxic, and adds immune-stimulating
properties to its anti-inflammatory effect.
Echinacea has an excellent safety record. After hundreds of years of
use, no toxicity or side effects have been reported except rare allergic
reactions in sensitive individuals. The purple coneflower is a truly
American contribution to world health care through herbs. This safe and
effective immune stimulant was discovered and first used by the Native
Americans and is now a major medicinal plant used throughout Europe and