You’ve likely seen these headlines and wondered “is this really true?” Indeed, the New England Journal of Medicine recently published a report claiming Echinacea didn’t prevent viral infection or lessen or reduce the duration of symptoms in any of the over 400 college students studied. This doubleblind, placebo-controlled study is the latest blow to herbal medicine. But those who use Echinacea remain skeptical about the results, and with good reason.
The Echinacea extract used in the study was not a commercial preparation. Instead, it was created from several different preparations, made by the university that ran the trial, each with different isolated chemical constituents. One formula combined all the different preparations. Ideally, a formula should contain polysaccharides, alkylamides, and cichoric acid constituents to be most effective. Not even the combination preparation contained all of these components.
Many experts also believe the dosage used was inadequate. In this study, patients took the equivalent of 300 mg Echinacea three times daily. Although the German E Commission Monograph does recommend a total of 900 mg daily, many recommend the daily intake of 3000 mg—more than three times that amount!
If you, like millions of Americans, have used Echinacea successfully, don’t let this research discourage you. Contrary to reports, the results of this research are far from definitive.Most have come to learn that the right Echinacea formula, taken in the proper dosage, can be very effective. When it comes to positive results, let your body provide the proof.
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