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Echinacea/cold study

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Liquid Echinacea purpurea extract "did not significantly decrease the incidence, duration or severity of colds and respiratory infections compared to placebo," Wolfram Grimm, MD, and Hans-Helge Muller, PhD, University of Marburg, Germany, report in the February American Journal of Medicine. A total of 108 subjects with a history of frequent infections took either 4 ml of echinacea or "placebo-juice" twice a day and were followed for eight weeks. Of the 54 subjects receiving echinacea, 35 (65%) had at least one respiratory infection, compared to 40 (74%) in the placebo group. Median length of illness was 4.5 days in the echinacea group and 6.5 days for those on placebo. In a separate editorial, Stephen Bent, MD, and Andrew Avins, MD, University of California San Francisco, write that echinacea accounts for 12% of all U.S. herbal sales, and thereby justifies rigorous clinical study. However, due to herbal companies' low research budgets, "we will continue to see provocative, but ultimately unsatisfying, studies of herbal products," Bent and Avins say

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