Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evidence mixed on the usefulness of echinacea for colds

Date:
February 20, 2014
Source:
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health
Summary:
For people seeking a natural treatment for the common cold, some preparations containing the plant Echinacea work better than nothing, yet “evidence is weak,” finds a new report.

For people seeking a natural treatment for the common cold, some preparations containing the plant Echinacea work better than nothing, yet "evidence is weak," finds a new report from The Cochrane Library. The evidence review revealed no significant reductions in preventing illness, but didn't rule out "small preventive effects."

Related Articles


The six authors conducted reviews on this subject in 1998, 2006 and 2008 and wanted to do an update to include several new trials conducted since then. "We've been doing this for so long and are very familiar with past research -- which has been mixed from the very beginning," said author Bruce Barrett, M.D., Ph.D. in the department of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

The research team reviewed 24 randomized controlled trials to determine whether Echinacea was a safe and effective cold prevention and treatment. Trials included 4631 participants and 33 preparations, along with placebo. Echinacea products studied in these trials varied widely according to characteristics of three different plant species, the part of the plant used and method of manufacturing.

People who get colds spend $8 billion annually on pharmaceutical products, including supplements such as Echinacea, Barrett noted. The authors' meta-analyses suggest that at least some Echinacea preparations may reduce the relative risk of catching a cold by 10 to 20 percent, a small effect of unclear clinical significance. The most important recommendation from the review for consumers and clinicians is a caution that Echinacea products differ greatly and that the overwhelming majority of these products have not been tested in clinical trials.

Barrett added that "it looks like taking Echinacea may reduce the incidence of colds. For those who take it as a treatment, some of the trials report real effects -- but many do not. Bottom line: Echinacea may have small preventive or treatment effects, but the evidence is mixed."

"The paper does support the safety and efficacy of Echinacea in treating colds and highlights the main issue of standardizing herbal medicines," commented Ron Eccles, Ph.D., director of the Common Cold Centre & Healthcare Clinical Trials at Cardiff University's School of Biosciences in Wales.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marlies Karsch-V๖lk, Bruce Barrett, David Kiefer, Rudolf Bauer, Karin Ardjomand-Woelkart, Klaus Linde. Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2014 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000530.pub3

Cite This Page:

Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. "Evidence mixed on the usefulness of echinacea for colds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220131358.htm>.
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. (2014, February 20). Evidence mixed on the usefulness of echinacea for colds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220131358.htm
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. "Evidence mixed on the usefulness of echinacea for colds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220131358.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) — AbbVie announced Wednesday it will buy cancer drugmaker Pharmacyclics in a $21 billion deal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) — Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. 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