Another echinacea variety may be more effective against upper respiratory infections than standard varieties.
The research on echinacea’s immune-boosting ability continues, most recently in a study showing that Echinacea pallida effectively treats some upper respiratory infections, reducing symptoms and shortening the length of the illness.
E. pallida, often overshadowed by the more commonly used E. angustifolia and E. purpurea, is native to areas farther east in the United States than the other two species.
A team of German and British researchers tested the effects of liquid E. pallida root extract on viral and bacterial infections accompanied by symptoms such as coughing, sinusitis, sore throat, headache, and fever. For eight to ten days, 160 adults in the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial took a daily dose of 900 mg of root extract. Those taking echinacea reported significant relief from their cough, headaches, cold symptoms, weakness, and pain in the limbs. Also, the length of illness was shortened by nearly four days compared with those taking a placebo.
Along with visible signs of improvement, immune cell counts returned to normal at a much quicker rate than the placebo group, according to the researchers.
Dorn, M., et al. “Placebo-controlled, double-blind study of Echinaceae pallidae radix in upper respiratory tract infections.” Complementary Therapies in Medicine 1997, 5(1):40-42.
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