Does Echinacea Interact With Medications

The purple coneflower is another name for the genus of native North American plants known as echinacea. An extract derived from the root of the herb Echinacea purpurea is the most popular herbal product in the country. Commercial echinacea preparations are often not standardized to any specific component because the plant’s active ingredient has not been discovered. The variability of the products utilized in different studies makes it challenging to evaluate the echinacea study literature. The herb is frequently used for this purpose and has been suggested as a preventative therapy for upper respiratory infections. However, it appears from the available research that taking preventive echinacea has little to no effect on the frequency, severity, or duration of upper respiratory infections. The evidence for treating upper respiratory infections seems to point to a slight favorable impact. Echinacea has not been associated with any significant herb-drug interactions, and the few and mild side effects that have been documented include nausea, dizziness, and gastrointestinal distress.

The purple coneflower is another name for the genus of plants known as echinacea, which are indigenous to the Midwest of North America. Three of the nine species of echinacea—Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, and Echinacea pallida—are used to make echinacea preparations. The preparation that is used the most frequently in this nation is a liquid extract prepared from E. purpurea root. There are many different trade names used to market echinacea.

Native Americans were the first to employ this plant medicinally, using E. angustifolia to cure everything from respiratory ailments to snakebites. Echinacea was employed as a blood purifier and a dizziness remedy during the 19th century. Up until the invention of current antibiotics, it was utilized as a cold and flu cure as well as an anti-infective. Echinacea is one of the top three plants sold in the US thanks to its recent revival as a remedy for upper respiratory infections (URIs). 1

What should not be combined with echinacea?

What foods and medicines should I stay away from while taking echinacea? Avoid anything that contains caffeine, including coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, and other items. Echinacea can intensify the negative effects of caffeine, including headache, rapid heartbeat, and jitteriness.

What medications interact with echinacea?

regularly inspected interactions

  • Aspirin Extra Mild (aspirin)
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Calcium/Vitamin D 600 (calcium)
  • CoQ10 (ubiquinone)
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • fatty fish (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids)
  • Garlic Root (ginger)
  • ginseng lupulin (ginkgo)

Who should avoid using echinacea?

The more frequent echinacea adverse effects are as follows:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • feeling unwell
  • belly pain
  • constipation
  • skin repercussions (redness, itchiness and swelling)
  • Children are more likely to have them.

Echinacea use for longer than 8 weeks at a time may cause liver damage or immune system suppression. If you are taking medications known to have an adverse effect on your liver, herbalists advise against taking echinacea.

If you use any additional medications, herbs, or supplements, check with your doctor first.

Using echinacea safely

If you want to substitute echinacea for your cancer therapy, let your doctor know. Additionally, if you are considering taking it concurrently with your cancer therapy.

In some people, it may not be safe to use in conjunction with other cancer treatments.

Echinacea may impair the effectiveness of some chemotherapy medications, including etoposide.

Sometimes pharmacists and medical professionals advise lymphoma patients not to consume echinacea. This is so that it won’t affect how they’re being treated.

Researchers discovered that echinacea and etravine were safe to ingest together in HIV-positive individuals.

If any of the following apply to you before consuming echinacea:

  • are breastfeeding or pregnant
  • have a medical condition like autoimmune illness, HIV, or AIDS that impairs your immune system
  • are medicating to weaken your immune system because it might fight them
  • are under 12 years old
  • There is a possibility of allergic responses including skin rashes, according to the medical health regulatory association (MHRA).

Always discuss the use of complementary or alternative cancer therapy with your doctors and nurses. They could affect how well your other therapies work.

Your treatment team can point you in the direction of further resources if they don’t have the knowledge you need.

Echinacea and blood pressure medications: are they compatible?

There is no proof that echinacea would interact with diuretics, although several natural items, such as Siberian ginseng, St. Mary’s thistle, and grapefruit juice, have been reported to interfere with various types of blood-pressure medication.

Brief overview

However, no studies utilizing Echinacea in the prevention or treatment of illnesses similar to COVID-19 have been found. Current research suggests that echinacea supplementation may reduce the duration and severity of acute respiratory tract infections. There were not many side events reported, indicating the relative safety of this herbal medication. Clinical studies have shown that Echinacea lowers levels of immunological molecules associated with cytokine storm, despite the fact that it might boost immune activity, which raises concerns that it can worsen over-activation of the immune system in cytokine storm.


When given at the earliest sign of infection, Echinacea supplements may help with the symptoms of acute respiratory infections (ARI) and the common cold. No trials employing Echinacea in the prevention or treatment of illnesses like COVID-19, however, have been found. When taken at the outset of symptoms, Echinacea may lessen the intensity and/or duration of ARI, according to earlier research. E. purpurea or a mixture of E. purpurea and E. angustifolia having standardized levels of active components were employed in trials claiming benefit.

Echinacea use hasn’t been associated with many side effects, which suggests that this herbal remedy is generally harmless. No human studies using echinacea for up to 4 months could be found that showed cytokine storm symptoms.

The results were largely consistent with a reduction in the pro-inflammatory cytokines that are involved in the progression of cytokine storm and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), factors that are highly significant in the death of COVID-19 patients when looking at all human trials that reported changes in cytokine levels in response to Echinacea supplementation. Even though there isn’t any research on the therapeutic benefits of echinacea in the treatment of cytokine storms right now, this evidence shows that more study is necessary.

Can echinacea be taken with vitamin D?

Vitamin D3 and echinacea did not interact in any way. This does not imply that there are no interactions, though. Always get advice from your doctor.

Echinacea side effects: are there any?

The United States and Canada are home to the blooming plant echinacea. Additionally known as coneflower. It belongs to the family of plants known as daisies. For many years, echinacea has been used as a herbal treatment. The viruses that cause colds, sore throats, and the flu are now frequently prevented or treated with it.

Most drug stores and health food stores carry echinacea products. It is available as teas, pills, liquid extracts, capsules, or dried plants. It is one of the most widely used herbs in the country.

Path to improved health

Echinacea is frequently used as a dietary supplement to treat infections like the common cold. They contend that it strengthens the immune system. This improves the body’s ability to combat the infection. As a result, the illness might not persist as long. When feeling well, some people use it to avoid getting sick.

Consult your primary care physician before using echinacea to treat a cold or the flu. Make sure to conduct your study as well. Before being sold, dietary supplements do not require FDA approval. The components in some supplements may not be what is listed on the label. Look for a business that quality tests their goods. You will then be certain that you are acting appropriately.

Pay close attention to the package label. Echinacea is available in a wide range of doses and strengths. Additionally, it may be combined with other nutrients. Observe the instructions on the packaging. Take only the prescribed amount. It can be hazardous to take more than is advised.

The majority of companies advise against eating echinacea on an empty stomach. They advise drinking a lot of water or eating before taking it. Echinacea shouldn’t be taken for more than a few weeks. Long-term safety has not been sufficiently investigated.

Before taking echinacea or any supplements, consult your doctor. If it will conflict with any other medications you take, he or she can let you know. They can also suggest the appropriate dosage for you.

Keep all herbal products out of young children’s sight and reach. To prevent them from losing their potency, keep them in a cool, dry area. Avoid keeping them in restrooms, which tend to get warm and muggy.

Does it work?

On the impact of echinacea on the common cold, numerous studies have been conducted. Researchers have not yet discovered concrete proof of its efficacy. They don’t think that taking it as soon as a cold hits will make it go away faster. Taking it when you are healthy may somewhat lower your risk of contracting a cold.

What are the side effects?

Minor adverse effects are possible with echinacea. These symptoms can include nausea, dizziness, and a queasy stomach. Allergic reactions such as redness, swelling, and breathing difficulties are considered serious adverse effects. It may exacerbate asthmatic symptoms. Inform your doctor as soon as possible of any negative effects you have.

Daisy family plants can cause allergy reactions in some people. These could include chrysanthemums, marigolds, ragweed, daisies, or other flowers. This could increase your chance of experiencing an allergic reaction to echinacea.


Take echinacea three times daily for the first ten days of a cold, flu, upper respiratory infection, or bladder infection to stimulate the immune system generally.

Echinacea should NOT be taken on an empty stomach. Take it with food or a big glass of water instead.

Which diseases are echinacea’s side effects?

What Negative Effects Are Linked to Echinacea Use?

  • stomach ache.
  • allergy symptoms
  • modified fertility
  • diarrhea.
  • dizziness.
  • redness (topical use)
  • concomitant skin rash and fever (topical use)
  • fever.

Positive effect on the immune System

Numerous studies have revealed that this plant may support your immune system’s ability to fight viruses and infections, which may speed up your recovery from illness (8, 9, 10).

Echinacea is frequently used to either prevent or treat the common cold because of this.

In fact, a review of 14 studies revealed that echinacea supplementation may reduce the likelihood of getting a cold by more than 50% and shorten its duration by 1.5 days (11).

Numerous research on the subject, nevertheless, have a weak design and offer little genuine value. Due to this, it can be difficult to determine if echinacea use has any beneficial effects on colds vs random events (12).

In conclusion, echinacea may increase immunity, but it is unknown how it may affect the common cold.

May lower blood sugar levels

This includes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and a number of other chronic illnesses.

Research in test tubes suggests that echinacea plants may aid in lowering blood sugar levels.

An Echinacea purpurea extract was demonstrated in a test-tube investigation to inhibit enzymes that break down carbs. If you ate this, it would lower the quantity of sugar that entered your blood (13).

By activating the PPAR-y receptor, a popular target of diabetic medications, echinacea extracts were found to increase cells’ sensitivity to the effects of insulin in additional test-tube tests (14, 15).

A risk factor for insulin resistance, excess blood fat is eliminated by this specific receptor. As a result, cells respond to insulin and sugar more quickly (16).

Research on how echinacea affects blood sugar in humans is still inadequate.

May reduce feelings of anxiety

Nearly one in five American adults suffer from anxiety, which is a widespread problem (17).

According to research, echinacea plants contain substances that may help people feel less anxious. Alkamides, rosmarinic acid, and caffeic acid are a few of these (18).

Three out of five echinacea samples reduced anxiety in a mouse research. In addition, unlike higher doses of conventional treatments, they did not cause the mice to become less active (18).

Another study discovered that Echinacea angustifolia extract significantly decreased anxiety in rats and people (19).

However, there are currently very few studies on echinacea and anxiety. Before echinacea products are suggested as a potential treatment, more research is required.

Anti-inflammatory properties

Your body naturally promotes healing and defends itself by inducing inflammation.

Inflammation can occasionally become out of control and persist longer than intended and necessary. This could increase your risk of developing chronic illnesses and other health issues.

Echinacea chemicals reduced significant inflammatory markers and inflammation-related memory loss in a mouse research (20).

Adults with osteoarthritis who took a supplement containing echinacea extract for 30 days noticed a significant decrease in swelling, chronic pain, and inflammation.

Interestingly, echinacea extract-containing supplements were effective for these adults even though they did not respond well to traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS) (21).

May help treat skin concerns

In a test-tube experiment, researchers discovered that the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial characteristics of echinacea inhibited the growth of Propionibacterium, a common acne-causing bacteria (22).

Another study on 10 healthy adults aged 25 to 40 found that using skin care products with echinacea extract increased skin moisture and decreased wrinkles (23).

Similar to this, it has been demonstrated that a cream containing Echinacea purpurea extract can lessen eczema symptoms and aid in repairing the skin’s thin, protective outer layer (24).

Echinacea extract doesn’t seem to have a long shelf life, making it challenging to use in industrial skin care products.

How effective is echinacea for sinus infections?

Traditional medicine has long employed the plant’s leaves and roots to reduce inflammation and boost immune response ( 1 ). It is well-known as a natural treatment for symptoms of the cold and flu, such as stuffiness, sneezing, and sinus pressure.