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 "Echinacea Reduces the Common Cold"



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Echinacea, one of the most popular herbal supplements in Australia, would appear to cut the the chances of catching the common cold by 58 percent and reducing the duration of the common cold by 1.4 days, according to a new University of Connecticut study published in the July issue of the prominent British medical journal, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, and published online Monday, June 25 UK time.


Conducted by researchers in UConn's School of Pharmacy, the study, known as a meta-analysis, combined the results of 14 previous clinical trials involving more than 1,300 patients followed for Echinacea's effect on preventing the common cold and more than 1,600 patients followed for Echinacea's effect on limiting the duration of the common cold.

The findings stand in contrast to a study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, which discounted Echinacea's cold-fighting effects, the researchers report. Instead, the research supports a previous study that found Echinacea to be an effective treatment for the common cold and also provides new evidence to support their observations for Echinacea's added cold prevention benefits.

Because of the size and scope of the research, which included only randomized, placebo-controlled, peer-reviewed studies, the researchers were able to observe effects the smaller, individual studies, including the New England Journal of Medicine study which was included in the UConn review, were not able to determine alone. The UConn researchers also were able to examine Echinacea's effects with and without the presence of additional supplements and whether exposure to viruses occurred naturally or study subjects were inoculated with a cold virus.

It was concluded by the researchers that:

Echinacea reduced the incidence of contracting the common cold whether it was taken alone or in combination with other herbal supplements and that Echinacea reduced the chance of catching the common cold whether study subjects were exposed to viruses naturally or inoculated with a particular virus as part of the study.


Reference: University of Connecticut. "Echinacea Could Cut Chance Of Catching Cold By More Than Half," Science Daily 26/6/2007.

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