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People using Echinacea Purpurea catch colds less frequently and are ill for shorter periods

Adults catch cold 2-4 times a year, while children experience 6-10 episodes per year.
For example, in the USA 30% of absences at school and 40% of absences at work are due to having a cough and runny nose. Echinacea is one of the most widely used plant products for reducing cold symptoms. How justified is this? Does Echinacea work for all of the nearly 200 different viruses that cause the common cold? A summary of 14 unique studies concluded that Echinacea is indeed effective in treating and preventing colds. However, it is currently still unclear which component of the Echinacea extract or a combination thereof (the main compounds are alkamides, caffeic acid and polysaccharides) provides the immune modulation effect. Regardless of all the possible factors that can impact the effectiveness of Echinacea (species, amount of active substance in the product and quality of the product), Echinacea still reduces the incidence, i.e. frequency and duration, of the common cold. People who take Echinacea catch colds an average of 65% less often than the placebo groups. Likewise, people taking Echinacea are ill for shorter periods, recovering an average of 1.4 days quicker – according to analysis of the results of 14 respectable studies. In case of cold, it is essential to begin using Echinacea Purpurea as soon as possible, as it will reduce the duration of the disease and the severity of the symptoms1.

1 Linde K1, Barrett B, Wölkart K, Bauer R, Melchart D.Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Jan 25;(1):CD000530

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