Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Echinacea Fails To Block Cold Virus Infection

Date:
June 15, 2004
Source:
Infectious Diseases Society Of America
Summary:
Some think echinacea is nothing to sneeze at. Others aren't convinced of the claims that the herb can fight the common cold. A study in the May 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online, adds to the evidence against the herb's alleged powers.

Some think echinacea is nothing to sneeze at. Others aren't convinced of the claims that the herb can fight the common cold. A study in the May 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online, adds to the evidence against the herb's alleged powers: In the study, echinacea did not prevent a common cold virus from infecting volunteers.

Related Articles


Researchers administered either echinacea or a placebo to 48 people for seven days before nasally inoculating them with a cold virus. The volunteers then continued to take echinacea or the placebo for another week. More than 90 percent of volunteers in both the echinacea and the placebo groups became infected with the cold virus, according to laboratory tests.

This result is consistent with other echinacea studies, said Steven Sperber, MD, lead author. "Although echinacea is widely used, a number of well-designed studies show it not to be effective in preventing the common cold," he said.

Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflower, is one of the most popular herbal therapies in the United States for warding off colds. Echinacea capsules, juices, teas, and extracts line the aisles of health food stores. But if echinacea can not stop a cold virus from infecting a person, might the herb suppress the symptoms of a cold after a person is infected?

On this question, the results of the CID study were less clear cut. Not everyone in the CID study who was infected came down with a cold. In fact, actual cold symptoms developed in only 58 percent of those who received echinacea, compared with 82 percent of the placebo group. While this difference is suggestive, it can not be counted as statistically significant because of the small number of people in the study, Dr. Sperber explained.

Of the scientific studies that found evidence in favor of echinacea, most examined the herb's ability to treat cold symptoms rather than prevent colds from happening, Dr. Sperber noted. He speculated that the difference between the echinacea and placebo groups in his study might be the result a treatment benefit from echinacea, but this study was not designed to look specifically at treatment. "And many well-designed studies have found no treatment effect," he said.

Efforts to determine whether echinacea can foil the common cold suffer in part from the variety of echinacea products available, making it difficult to compare study results, Dr. Sperber added. "The medications may not be standardized from one brand to another. The particular components of the plant and the amounts of active ingredients may not be the same," he said. "Echinacea is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration the same as an approved drug."

Nevertheless, interest in echinacea will probably continue to be strong, both for patients and physicians. "The cold is an illness that affects everybody, and for which there is no scientifically proven cure," Dr. Sperber said. "If echinacea were proven to be effective in well-conducted studies, I think it would likely be embraced. While many studies have already been conducted, there is a need for additional well-conducted studies in order to definitively answer the question about the role of echinacea in the management of colds."

Founded in 1979, Clinical Infectious Diseases publishes clinical articles twice monthly in a variety of areas of infectious disease, and is one of the most highly regarded journals in this specialty. It is published under the auspices of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). Based in Alexandria, Va., IDSA is a professional society representing more than 7,500 physicians and scientists who specialize in infectious diseases. For more information, visit www.idsociety.org.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Infectious Diseases Society Of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Infectious Diseases Society Of America. "Echinacea Fails To Block Cold Virus Infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040615075642.htm>.
Infectious Diseases Society Of America. (2004, June 15). Echinacea Fails To Block Cold Virus Infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040615075642.htm
Infectious Diseases Society Of America. "Echinacea Fails To Block Cold Virus Infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040615075642.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins