Vancouver, BC April 13, 2011
Echinacea may not be effective in preventing symptoms of the common cold.
indicated that although illness duration amongst the
participants was reduced through taking a pill of some
sort, the difference in the effects of the Echinacea
pill versus the placebo pill were not statistically
The common cold: we are all familiar with its uncomfortable symptoms, such as nasal congestion, sore throat, and fever. Many people use products such as Sudafed to treat these symptoms, but others argue that herbal medicines such as Echinacea are more effective.
Echinacea is a type of flower, certain species of which are used in herbal medicines. Echinacea is traditionally thought to stimulate the immune system. There have been many debates about how effective Echinacea is at treating the common cold. The most recent of these studies, which pitted Echinacea against a placebo pill, adds more fuel to the fire.
Published in the December 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, this study was conducted in Dane County, Wisconsin with a total of 719 patients enrolled. The study focused on the patients’ illness duration and severity. Results indicated that although illness duration amongst the participants was reduced through taking a pill of some sort, the difference in the effects of the Echinacea pill versus the placebo pill were not statistically significant.
Though these results are interesting, the authors of the study also point out its several limitations. These include the fact the results could not be generalized to cover other geographic areas, and, because the majority (88%) of the participants were white, to other racial or ethnic groups.
The debate on natural health products versus prescription or over-the-counter medication continues. Evidence from this last study is not conclusive, but points to the fact that regular medicines such as Sudafed can be just as effective as treating the common cold as natural health products such as Echinacea. Online Pharmacies Canada, a reputable online Canadian Pharmacy, therefore recommends that people consult with their physicians before departing from traditional cold medications in favor of herbal medicines.