In another case of science proving what we already know, researchers recently revealed that the herbal remedy Echinacea can protect against colds. According to The Daily Mail, this was the largest clinical study ever on the herb, and it ended with some positive news—that the herbal remedy (taken for ages to reduce the effects of colds and illness) does, in fact, work.
Duration of Colds Dropped by 26% from Echinacea
Echinacea is native to the United States and comes from the Eastern Purple Coneflower.
Study subjects took three doses of the herb extract for four months and had a lower incidence of colds. Also, the average duration of colds dropped 26%, meaning that for those who did get sick, the illness moved on more quickly.
Unfortunately, the study used a very specific brand of Echinacea, called Echinaforce, and the maker of said supplement funded the study. This disappointing fact could lead supporters of mainstream (re: not herbal) medicine to discredit any of the promising findings of the study.
However, in addition to decreasing the longevity of colds and reducing their occurrence, researchers also found the herb to cut the number of recurrent colds in people with weakened immune systems by a whopping 60 percent.
It’s believed this herb works to combat viruses, meaning it could work on other illnesses as well. For the 750 study subjects, the herb also combated the flu—reducing the total number of days suffered from 850 to 672. Also, recurring infections fell from 100 episodes in 43 patients to 65 episodes in 28 patients, a reduction of 59 percent.
Similarly, a doctor of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) in New Mexico recommended Echinacea for cold and flu prevention. Though he says the common mistake is to take it after coming down with a cold or flu because Echinacea is not as effective as a remedy rather than for flu prevention.
Echinacea has long been used to treat the symptoms of a cold and to shorten the duration. While daily supplementation might be a lot to ask, having high quality Echinacea tea or the herb itself on hand is a good idea during cold season. When you start to see people around you passing the bug, bolster your body’s defenses by consuming the herb throughout the day. And if you feel a cold coming on, start an Echinacea regimen right away.
For other helpful tips on how to prevent a cold, click the link. And in addition to knowing which measures to take for protection, it’s also good to know which foods to AVOID while battling a cold or flu.