Latin Name: Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea is an immunity boosting herb that helps reduce infections like the common cold and flu.
The listings of research below represent a compilation of scientific articles found on the species, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. Research found is catalogued by therapeutic action. This categorized compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use.
- American Indians chewed the root for toothache pain. Juice made from the root was used for burns and wounds. Leaves were brewed as a tea for gum inflammation and sore throat. It was even used for snake bites. Early American physicians used it for respiratory infections. From: Weil, A., et al. (2010). National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs. National Geographic. Washington D.C.
SAFETY / CONCERNS
- Echinacea is on The United Plant Savers SPECIES AT RISK list. From: United Plant Savers (2014). Species at Risk. Retrieved in May, 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.unitedplantsavers.org/species-at-risk
- Most all of the herb sold commercially is farmed, with wild populations dwindling.
- May interfere with certain medications, including birth control pills.
- May exacerbate certain autoimmune conditions.
- Avoid with allergies to plants in the Asteraceae family.
- A study with 430 young children, showed an herbal preparation containing 50 mg/mL of echinacea, 50 mg/mL of propolis, and 10 mg/mL of vitamin C was effective against the respiratory tract infection. From: Cohen, H. A., Varsano, I., Kahan, E., Sarrell, E. M., & Uziel, Y. (2004). Effectiveness of an herbal preparation containing echinacea, propolis, and vitamin C in preventing respiratory tract infections in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 158(3), 217-221.
- This meta analysis concluded echinacea reduced respiratory tract infections. From: Schapowal, A., Klein, P., & Johnston, S. L. (2015). Echinacea reduces the risk of recurrent respiratory tract infections and complications: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Advances in therapy, 32(3), 187-200.
- In a randomized double blind study of 472 patients with mild influenza, an echinacea drink was more effective in reducing symptoms and had less side effects than oseltamivir, the gold standard for treating the flu. From: Rauš, K., Pleschka, S., Klein, P., Schoop, R., & Fisher, P. (2015). Effect of an Echinacea-based hot drink versus oseltamivir in influenza treatment: a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, multicenter, noninferiority clinical trial. Current Therapeutic Research, 77, 66-72.
- A blend of Echinacea angustifolia, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Baptisia tinctoria and Arnica montana showed phagocytosis activity in vitro. From: Wagner, H., & Jurcic, K. (1991). Immunologic studies of plant combination preparations. In-vitro and in-vivo studies on the stimulation of phagocytosis. Arzneimittel-Forschung, 41(10), 1072-1076.
- In 755 healthy subjects, echinacea taken for 4 months reduced the number of cold episodes. From: Jawad, M., Schoop, R., Suter, A., Klein, P., & Eccles, R. (2012). Safety and efficacy profile of Echinacea purpurea to prevent common cold episodes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012.
- A review of human clinical trials and other studies on echinacea, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, St John’s wort, and valerian are summarized. From: Barrett, B., Kiefer, D., & Rabago, D. (1999). Assessing the risks and benefits of herbal medicine: an overview of scientific evidence. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 5(4), 40.
- In this review of research, the following herbs have shown potential against cutaneous leishmaniasis in vivo: Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Matricaria chamomilla, Cathrantus roseus, Echinacea purpurea, Lawsonia inermis, Artemisia sieberi, Berberis vulgaris, Allium sativum, and Lavandula spica. This is a skin disease caused by a parasite and transmitted by a bite from a sandfly. From: Shamsi, M. O. R. T. E. Z. A., Abbasi, N., Mohajer, A. S. A. D. O. L. L. A. H., Hoseini, M. A. S. I. H., & Rafieian-Kopaei, M. A. H. M. O. U. D. (2018). THE MOST IMPORTANT NATIVE MEDICINAL PLANTS EFFECTIVE AGAINST CUTANEOUS LEISHMANIASIS IN MOUSE. International Journal of Life Science and Pharma Research, 8(2), P1-P7.
- In a study with 100 dental student volunteers, an herbal toothpaste containing chamomile, echinacea, sage, rhatany, myrrh and peppermint oil was just as effective as typical commercial toothpaste in oral hygiene measures. From: Mitra, D., Shah, S., Shah, R., Rodrigues, S., Pathare, P., & Vijayakar, H. (2015). Evaluation of the Clinical Efficacy of a Herbal Toothpaste in Comparison with a Triclosan Containing Toothpaste in a Population of Dental College Students–A Double-blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Indian Journal of Contemporary Dentistry, 3(2), 67-70.
- Traumeel is an herbal formulation including Arnica montana, Calendula officinalis, Achillea millefolium, Matricaria chamomilla, Symphytum officinale, Atropa belladonna, Aconitum napellu, Bellis perennis, Hypericum perforatum, Chinacea angustfolia, Echinacea purpurea, Hamamelis virginica, Mercurius solubilis, and Hepar sulfuris. In a review of research, the author concluded that Traumeel is an effective Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for treating pain and inflammation, especially related to stomatitis for chemotherapy patients and musculoskeletal injuries. From: Grech, D., Velagala, J., Dembek, D. J., & Tabaac, B. (2018). Critical Literature Review of the Homeopathic Compound Traumeel for Treatment of Inflammation. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 9(03), 67
Compiled by: Kathy Sadowski