Indications

There are numerous studies on echinacea in the literature, many of which indicate either an in vitro immune stimulation or a significant clinical reduction in the severity and duration of upper respiratory viral symptoms, especially when taken early in the onset of symptoms. Despite several of these meta-analyses concluding that echinacea is an effective immunomodulator of acute infection, there is still controversy as to the extent of its clinical effectiveness. A number of trials now clearly indicate that echinacea is unlikely to be effective in the prevention of colds, even if it may slightly shorten their course.

In vitro antiinflammatory effects have been documented, and the herb has a long history of being used externally for wound healing, psoriasis, and the reduction of skin irritation. Although there are a few small positive studies, the available evidence is not yet conclusive in regard to clinical use.

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