Echi­nacea con­firmed as shield against colds

Montreal Gazette - - World - AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

PARIS – Echi­nacea, a medic­i­nal herb that came to promi­nence thanks to its use by Sioux In­di­ans, can more than halve the risk of catch­ing a cold, a widescale study has con­firmed.

Tak­ing echi­nacea sup­ple­ments can re­duce the risk of a cold by 58 per cent and may also shorten the du­ra­tion of a cold al­most one and a half days, ac­cord­ing to the pa­per, pub­lished yes­ter­day in the July is­sue of the jour­nal The Lancet In­fec­tious Dis­eases.

The study is a “meta-anal­y­sis” com­par­ing the out­come of 14 pub­lished tri­als us­ing echi­nacea.

One of the tri­als com­bined echi­nacea with vi­ta­min C, which showed the two to­gether re­duced the in­ci­dence of a cold by 86 per cent.

The anal­y­sis was led by Univer­sity of Con­necti­cut phar­ma­cist Craig Cole­man.

The au­thors say it is still un­clear how echi­nacea ap­pears to stim­u­late the im­mune sys­tem against the cold virus.

Its three ma­jor in­gre­di­ents are alka­mides, chicoric acid and polysac­cha­rides, but it is un­clear whether th­ese work by act­ing sep­a­rately or to­gether, or with the help of other con­stituents.

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