How Does Echinacea Help

One of the most widely used herbs in America right now is echinacea. Native Americans gave the medicinal herb echinacea its name because of the prickly scales that mimic the enraged hedgehog’s spines on its enormous conical seed head (echinos is Greek for hedgehog).

Native Americans may have used echinacea for more than 400 years to treat wounds and illnesses as well as a general “cure-all,” according to archaeologists who have discovered evidence of this. Echinacea has been used historically to treat blood poisoning, diphtheria, syphilis, malaria, and scarlet fever. Although this herb was widely used in the 18th and 19th centuries, its use started to diminish in the US once antibiotics were developed. In Germany, echinacea preparations gained popularity during the course of the 20th century. In actuality, Germany has been the site of the majority of echinacea scientific research.

Today, individuals take echinacea to lessen the severity of the common cold and flu and to lessen symptoms including fever, coughing, and sore throats (pharyngitis). Echinacea is another plant that many herbalists advise taking to help the body fight infections and strengthen the immune system.

General Uses

Echinacea may include active ingredients that improve immunological function, ease pain, lessen inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects, according to a number of laboratory and animal studies. Because of this, qualified herbalists may suggest echinacea as a treatment for slow-healing wounds, ear infections, athlete’s foot, sinusitis, vaginal yeast (Candida) infections, ear infections, otitis media, hay fever, and slow-healing wounds. Echinacea and cichoric acid may help suppress colon cancers, according to preliminary laboratory studies. According to one study, using echinacea extract before contracting the herpes simplex virus (HSVI) may have an antiviral effect on the recurrence of cold sores.

Common Cold

It is debatable if echinacea aids in the prevention or treatment of the common cold. According to certain research, the herb can hasten your recovery. Others claim that echinacea has no effect at all on a cold. According to several clinical studies, persons who take echinacea as soon as they start to feel unwell have milder colds and experience less symptoms than those who do not. In a study of 95 patients who had fever, runny nose, scratchy throat, and other early signs of the flu and cold, it was discovered that those who drank many cups of echinacea tea daily for five days felt well more quickly than those who drank tea without the herb.

Echinacea decreased cold risk by 58 percent and cold duration by 1 to 4 days, according to a study of 14 clinical trials. Some experts, however, contest these results, arguing the research had a number of flaws. Clinical trials have used a variety of echinacea formulations. It’s crucial to get a high-quality echinacea supplement and to start taking it as soon as a cold starts, numerous times each day for the first few days. For advice, consult your health care practitioner.

Is it safe to consume echinacea daily?

A Cochrane Library systematic review was released by researchers in 2006. A systematic review is when a team of professionals compiles all the information available on a specific topic. Then they examine it to determine whether there is any supporting evidence. 13 trials were examined in the review by the researchers. The studies investigated whether echinacea could be used to treat and prevent the common cold.

Some studies suggested that it might shorten the duration of colds and ease symptoms. Others, though, proved that it was ineffective.

According to the review, there is no proof that echinacea can shield you from the common cold. More study of how echinacea might combat infections was advised. to find out more about its side effects, as well.

In 2010, a study examined how successfully echinacea root treated persons who were already congested. It was discovered that ingesting echinacea had no effect on how long colds lasted.

Over 700 participants were the subject of a study in 2012 by researchers. They discovered that daily echinacea users for at least 4 months saw few adverse effects and fewer colds.

In 2014, researchers conducted a further Cochrane review. They discovered that the echinacea products sold on the market vary greatly.

Additionally, they discovered that 10 to 20 out of every 100 persons may be less likely to have a cold as a result of certain varieties (10 percent to 20 percent ).

The researchers believed that this was a little effect and that there was conflicting data to back it up. This is so because various echinacea preparations were employed in the experiments.

Echinacea’s effects on the immune system

Mixed findings have emerged from studies. Echinacea extracts do appear to affect the immune system, your body’s line of protection against pathogens. According to research, it boosts the quantity of white blood cells, which fight illnesses. The herbal medicine had a very little advantage in avoiding colds, according to an analysis of more than a dozen research that was published in 2014.

However, neither children nor adults who took echinacea for a cold reported any relief from it in two trials supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

However, because different studies examine different echinacea varieties and potencies as well as various plant or root portions, it might be challenging to compare the findings of several studies. There’s a chance that certain variations are superior to others. Additionally, it’s probable that the herbal cure will work against some but not all of the more than 200 cold-causing viruses.

Why echinacea shouldn’t be taken?

Consult your doctor before using echinacea if you regularly take other medications. Additionally, if you smoke, use illegal substances, drink alcohol or caffeine-containing beverages, you should disclose this to your doctor. These might impact how echinacea functions.

If you have an autoimmune ailment (like lupus), an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, echinacea may not be beneficial to you (AIDS). Before beginning to use echinacea, you should discuss with your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing.

Echinacea allergy risk may be increased if you have a history of allergies to daisies, ragweed, marigolds, chrysanthemums, or other related plants.

Echinacea: Does it actually work?

the final result. A strong herb with strong therapeutic qualities is echinacea. While some research suggests that it may help treat and prevent the common cold, other studies have come to the opposite conclusion and found that it is unlikely to make a substantial difference. As a result, more thorough human research are required.

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.

Verdict

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.

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 can I swiftly strengthen my immune system?

Having a robust immune system includes using vaccines, which provide us the best chance to defend ourselves against dangerous diseases.

Although your immune system is already intelligent, vaccinations help it become even more so by teaching it how to identify and combat particular diseases. Your immune system will learn much more safely through vaccination than through direct contact with these dangerous pathogens.

It’s crucial to stay up to date with all advised immunizations, particularly your annual flu shot and COVID-19 booster.

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.

What dosage of echinacea should I take to strengthen my defenses?

Depending on the product, different echinacea dosages are advised. The most frequently prescribed medication in the US is a liquid extract of the E. purpurea root, which is typically dosed at 3 mL every three to four hours for the first one to two days of upper respiratory sickness and then three times per day for the following week. Patients utilizing echinacea tea (prepared from the root of E. angustifolia or E. purpurea) must start with greater doses, usually 6 to 8 oz four times per day for the first two days before reducing it to once or twice per day on days three to seven.

Possibly Effective for…

  • Typical cold Numerous studies in the scientific community have demonstrated that consuming some echinacea products when cold symptoms first appear will slightly lessen symptoms in adults. However, more research demonstrates no benefit. The issue is that several echinacea plant varieties and processing techniques have been utilized in scientific investigations. It is not unexpected that different studies provide varied outcomes because the studies have not been consistent. The advantage will probably be minimal at best if it aids with COLD TREATMENT. There is conflicting evidence on echinacea’s ability to PREVENT the common cold. According to some studies, ingesting echinacea can cut your chance of getting a cold by 45 to 58 percent. However, some studies indicate that eating echinacea while you are exposed to cold viruses does not shield you from getting the common cold.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for…

  • Anxiety. According to preliminary studies, consuming 40 mg of a specific echinacea extract (ExtractumPharma ZRT, Budapest, Hungary) every day for seven days can help people feel less anxious. However, taking less than 40 mg a day does not seem to work.
  • execution of an exercise. Echinacea (Puritian’s Pride, Oakdale, NY) four times daily for 28 days enhances healthy men’s oxygen intake during exercise testing, according to preliminary studies.
  • Gingivitis. A mouthwash with echinacea, gotu kola, and elderberry (HM-302, Izum Pharmaceuticals, New York, NY) may help prevent gum disease from getting worse by using it three times a day for 14 days. This is according to preliminary studies. Although it is not always helpful, applying a particular mouth patch made of the same components (PerioPatch, Izun Pharmaceuticals, New York, NY) appears to lessen some gum disease symptoms.
  • Virus of Herpes Simplex (HSV). Uncertainty exists over the effectiveness of echinacea in the treatment of HSV. A Vogel Bioforce AG’s Echinaforce, 800 mg twice day for six months, according to some research, does not appear to prevent or shorten the frequency or duration of recurrent genital herpes. However, additional studies demonstrate that most persons with cold sores have less itching, tension, and discomfort while using a combination medication containing echinacea (Esberitox, Schaper & Brummer, Salzgitter-Ringelheim, Germany) (herpes labialis).
  • Papilloma virus in humans (HPV). According to preliminary studies, taking a combination supplement called Immune Act, manufactured by Erba Vita SpA in Republica San Marino, Italy, daily for a month can help prevent anal warts from returning in persons who have had them surgically removed. The conclusions of this study, however, are suspect due to its low quality.
  • Influenza (flu). According to preliminary studies, taking a specialized echinacea supplement, such as Monoselect Echinacea from PharmExtracta in Pontenure, Italy, daily for 15 days may help persons with breathing issues like bronchitis or asthma respond better to the flu vaccine.
  • low level of white blood cells (Leukopenia). Early studies suggest that administering 50 drops of Esberitox N, Schaper & Brummer, Salzgitter-Ringelheim, Germany, between cycles of chemoradiotherapy can increase red and white blood cell counts in some women with advanced breast cancer. Esberitox N contains extracts of echinacea root, thuja leaf, and wild indigo. However, not all patients experience this effect, and dosages less than 50 drops don’t appear to be effective. Additionally, it doesn’t appear that this medicine lowers the risk of infection.
  • infection in the middle ear. Early research indicates that giving children aged 1 to 5 who have a history of ear infections a specific liquid echinacea extract three times daily for three days at the first indication of the common cold does not prevent an ear infection. In fact, ear infections appeared to be rising.
  • Tonsillitis. According to preliminary study, spraying a specific mixture of sage and echinacea into the mouth every two hours for up to ten times a day for up to five days alleviates sore throat sensations in a manner comparable to that of regularly used medication sprays for tonsillitis sufferers. Other preliminary studies indicate that giving persons with tonsillitis 50 drops of the echinacea supplement Esberitox, Schaper & Brummer, Salzgitter-Ringelheim, Germany, three times a day for two weeks, coupled with an antibiotic, can lessen painful throat and improve general wellbeing.
  • eye irritation (Uveitis). Early research indicates that giving persons with eye inflammation 150 mg of an echinacea supplement (Iridium, SOOFT Italia SpA) twice day for four weeks along with eye drops and a steroid to treat inflammation does not enhance vision any more than giving them eye drops and steroids alone does.
  • Warts. According to preliminary study, consuming echinacea orally every day for up to three months won’t get rid of warts on the skin. However, utilizing traditional treatments along with a supplement containing echinacea, methionine, zinc, probiotics, antioxidants, and substances that boost the immune system for six months appears to be more effective than using conventional treatments only.
  • infections of the urinary tract (UTIs).
  • Candida infections.
  • HIV/AIDS.
  • infections of the bloodstream.
  • Staph infections.
  • Syphilis.
  • Typhoid.
  • Malaria.
  • Diphtheria.
  • head pain from migraines.
  • syndrome of protracted weariness (CFS).
  • Eczema.
  • other allergens, such as hay fever.
  • Stinging bees.
  • Hyperactive/attentional deficit disorder (ADHD).
  • Swine flu
  • arthritis rheumatoid (RA).
  • Indigestion.
  • Pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Snake bites are common.
  • other circumstances

According to the following scale, the effectiveness of natural medicines is rated by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

When used orally for a brief period of time, echinacea is LIKELY SAFE for the majority of people. Echinacea has been used safely in a variety of liquid and solid formulations for up to 10 days. A. Vogel Bioforce AG, Switzerland’s Echinaforce is one of many products that can be used safely for up to six months.

Fever, nausea, vomiting, bad taste, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, sore throat, dry mouth, headache, numb tongue, dizziness, sleeplessness, confusion, and joint and muscle aches are a some of the side effects that have been noted. Echinacea has been known to occasionally result in liver irritation.

Children and adults who are allergic to ragweed, mums, marigolds, or daisies are most likely to experience allergic responses when using echinacea. Before using echinacea, make sure to see your doctor if you have any allergies.